Just look at these glowing reviews of “Hamilton” from 2015. Before the dark times. Before the Woke Empire.
The New Yorker: “It does not seem accidental that ‘Hamilton’ was created during the tenure of the first African-American President. The musical presents the birth of the nation in an unfamiliar but necessary light: not solely as the work of élite white men but as the foundational story of all Americans. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington are all played by African-Americans.
The New York Times: “It also feels appropriate that the ultimate dead white men of American history should be portrayed here by men who are not white. The United States was created, exclusively and of necessity, by people who came from other places or their immediate descendants.”
The Nation: “Race and ethnicity aren’t meant to disappear into irrelevance here; they are significant. True, seeing Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and the rest of the colonial crew played by black, Latino, and Asian-American actors isn’t a narrative snag. This is theater, after all, good old-fashioned make-believe. […] But Hamilton wouldn’t have clicked with white actors in these roles. The theatrical, corporeal point, which can’t be conveyed by the script or score alone, is that America’s history—and its future—belong to men and women of color as profoundly as to anyone else.”
Yes, back in those distant days of just five years ago, the Broadway smash hit “Hamilton” was seen as a mighty force – not just of theater and art but of, yes, social justice. What could be more progressive and cool than recasting a bunch of historical white guys as rapping, hip-hop dancing people of color?
My, how quickly things change.
“Hamilton” was back in the conversation this week thanks to a live-filmed version that debuted on Disney’s streaming service. But not everyone was grateful to see the Broadway show back in the spotlight.
“Are y’all ready to talk about how problematic Hamilton is? Lin Manuel Miranda created a piece of work that used hip hop (a genre created by black people) to tell the story of colonizers and slave owners,” one Twitter user mused.
“As much as I love the show, it and it’s writer are deeply problematic,” another wrote. “I’ve intentionally or unintentionally ignored these things for years, but I’m trying to fix this now so I can fully contextualize and understand Hamilton and it’s effect as a whole.”
Another Twit wrote: “I mean I think the fact that a musical like Hamilton (which is deeply problematic and nationalist) has to exist in order for non-white actors to have a space on Broadway is just very indicative of how non-white stories will never be able to thrive on this elitist medium.”
The woke mob even managed to extract an apology from “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was apparently too slow to speak out about police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“We spoke out on the day of the Pulse shooting. We spoke out when Vice President Mike Pence came to our show 10 days after the election. That we have not yet firmly spoken the inarguable truth that Black Lives Matter and denounced systematic racism and white supremacy from our official ‘Hamilton’ channels is a moral failure on our part,” Miranda said. “As the writer of the show, I take responsibility and apologize for my part in this moral failure.”
Just goes to show you: No matter how progressive, woke, and allied you think you are today, the Cancel Crew will come for you eventually. You have to wonder how many people will have to learn this lesson before we stop pandering to these moralistic scam artists.