Black Musical Theater has its roots in minstrel shows, going back even as early as the 1840s. Some black slaves were promised freedom if they performed in these shows. For others, this was the only way to get exposure. Soon, black people began holding their own minstrel shows.
Soon, minstrel shows began to decline in popularity, so black musical theater began to take other forms, including opera and vaudeville. Popular modern examples of black musical theater include The Wiz, The Color Purple, Dreamgirls, Fame, Sparkle, and Porgy and Bess.