Monday, October 18, 2021

Lin-Manuel Miranda Says ‘Hamilton’ Slavery Criticism is ‘Valid’

*The renewed interest in the insanely-popular show “Hamilton” has sparked fresh debate about the musical’s portrayal of the Founding Fathers and their history with slavery. 

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda admits  that “all the criticisms are valid,” he wrote on Twitter Monday. “The sheer tonnage of complexities & failings of these people I couldn’t get. Or wrestled with but cut. I took 6 years and fit as much as I could in a 2.5 hour musical. Did my best. It’s all fair game.”

The conversation seemed to kick off on Friday when writer Roxane Gay tweeted that she had some issues with how “Hamilton” “idealizes the founders, and how such a brilliant musical dangerously elides (their) realities of slavery.”

She also noted her disapproval of how Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson’s sex slave, was “played for laughs” in the musical.

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In the Twitter thread, Miranda responded to writer Tracy Clayton, who hosts the Netflix podcast “Strong Black Legends.” She confessed to being “late w the Hamilton criticism stuff & im clearly biased but.. i really like that this conversation is happening.”

Clayton added, “Hamilton the play and the movie were given to us in two different worlds & our willingness to interrogate things in this way feels like a clear sign of change.”

“I totally get the frustration about it being a play about slaveholders that is not about slavery,” Clayton tweeted. “I’ve felt that in lots of things i watch, but i flex the same muscle i use when i listen to hip hop as a black woman. we enjoy problematic things all the time.”

She continued “after reading the critiques i would have appreciated more context about Hamilton & slavery. but to lump it in with statues of Columbus and Robert E. Lee denies this conversation the nuance it deserves & we’re capable of giving it that.”

She also said “humans are flawed and messy, both the ones who lived then & the ones reading and writing about them now.”

Her comments prompted Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican descent, to tweet “All the criticisms are valid.”

“Hamilton” is now streaming on the Disney+ platform. 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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