If over the July 4th weekend, scores of Disney+ subscribers toppled their TVs and threw them into the toilet in protest, it was probably over the glorification of Baby Yoda, a known slave owner, and not because of Hamilton. Trust me, there’s no level of slaveholding that’s gonna keep a Hamilhead from getting their Hamilfix. Hamilplease! But things being what they are, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has received criticism that the show glosses over the fact that most of the founding fathers depicted in it were slave owners. Writer Tracy Clayton kicked off a conversation about it on Twitter, and Lin has responded. Imagine bothering Lin about this when Baby Yoda’s right there sitting on a pile of ill-gained Zygerrian gold.
According to CNN:
Disney+ has scored a hit with the filmed version of “Hamilton,” but that success has renewed discussion about how the musical deals with the slaveholders it portrays.
While it boasts a diverse cast including creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda who is of Puerto Rican descent, “Hamilton” has been criticized by those who believe it doesn’t accurately portray the horrors of slavery and glosses over the role in it played by America’s founding fathers.
It’s a discussion which kicked off after “Hamilton” debuted on Broadway in 2015 and has broadened with the release of the film in the time of intense focus on the Black Lives Matters movement.
The show’s creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda responded to the criticism on Twitter Monday after a series of observations made by writer Tracy Clayton.
It’s important to note that Tracy admits she’s biased and that when it came out, it gave her “a big boost” when she “needed it most.” She even went so far as to call herself “a high ranking priestess in the church of Hamilton.” However, she still felt there were some issues that needed interrogating in the name of progress. Here’s Lin’s response.
Appreciate you so much, @brokeymcpoverty. All the criticisms are valid. 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. https://t.co/mjhU8sXS1U
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 6, 2020
Lin talked in more detail about how he sees Hamilton and his handling of slavery in light of the heightened scrutiny of our country’s origins in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, in a recent appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.
I do think that there are things that hit differently. I’ve always sort of said that slavery is the original sin of this country. It’s in the third line of our show. It’s a system in which every character in our show is complicit in some way or another. And again, I think different things resonate differently. Hamilton, although he voiced anti-slavery beliefs, remained complicit in the system and, other than calling out Jefferson on his hypocrisy with regards to slavery in Act 2, doesn’t really say much else over the course of Act 2.
And I think that’s actually pretty honest. Like, he didn’t really do much about it. None of them did. None of them did enough. And we say that, too, in the final moments of the song. So that hits differently now because we are having a conversation – we’re having a real reckoning – of, how do you uproot an original sin? And that’s the conversation that I feel like is happening right now.
Meanwhile, Baby Yoda hasn’t returned any of Terry’s calls. Don’t let the adorable chirps fool you, he’s a stone-cold killer.