Broadway musical drama, Hamilton, which was recently brought to our OTT screens by Lin-Manuel Miranda, has received serious backlash from netizens under “#CancelHamilton”.
Broadway musical drama Hamilton originally appeared during the Obama years in 2015 and gained quite a reputation for itself. Disney+ brought out a cinematic version of Hamilton in July 2020 but the whole thing backfired. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton has found itself embroiled in controversy with the “#CancelHamilton” chant on Twitter. This has created a divisive discourse on whether or not Hamilton is a victim of cancellation culture.
- “#CancelHamilton” trends on Twitter
- The Hamilton controversy has split the audience
- Lin-Manuel Miranda accepts the charges
“#CancelHamilton” trending on Twitter
In the wake of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical drama on Alexander Hamilton has been on the receiving end of the “#CancelHamilton” backlash.
The 2015 Broadway production of the musical drama, Hamilton, came out with flying colours, selling over 200,000 tickets and making over 30 million dollars in the box office. Michelle Obama even marked the Broadway production as the “best piece of art in any form” that she had seen in her life. Unfortunately, 2020’s Hamilton failed to live up to the glory of its predecessor.
Netizens and Twitterati received Miranda’s Hamilton as a veiled account on the life of Alexander Hamilton. They believe that the depiction of slavery in Miranda’s rendition of the popular musical drama is understated under the false glory of Alexander Hamilton.
An investigation into the historical events has cast a shadow on the degree of liberalism in the ideologies of Hamilton. It was realised that Alexander Hamilton advocated manumission and not abolition of the slave culture. Allegedly, he had married into a family that traded slaves and was probably associated with slave trading as well. Such discoveries have provoked the audience to cry out “#CancelHamilton” on Twitter.
See the trending hashtag here.
The Hamilton controversy has split the audience
The controversy around Miranda’s version of the Broadway musical drama has turned into a fiery debate on social media. On one hand, the recent production has been criticised as a regressive attempt at downplaying slavery and raising the false glory of Alexander Hamilton. On the other hand, people are considering the harsh treatment of Miranda’s show as unfair. According to the latter group, the show is an artistic expression and therefore, should only be judged from the point of view of art.
Ava Duvernay, a filmmaker, criticised Alexander Hamilton on “Twitter”, “Yep. Bought/owned. Believed in manumission, not abolition. Wrote violent filth about Native people. Believed in only elites holding political power and no term limits. And the banking innovation has troubled roots. That’s why I don’t look to art for my history. I study history.” However, she praised Miranda’s Hamilton as a work of art despite her disapproval of Alexander Hamilton’s ideologies.
She wrote in a comment, “[Slavery is] not central, for sure. But [Miranda] didn’t deny or ignore it either. He made his choices about it. I greatly enjoyed the work and was wildly curious after watching. I wouldn’t have studied any of those “founders” like I did if it wasn’t for #Hamilton and @Lin_Manuel”.
The Chicago Sun Times wrote in favour of Miranda’s Hamilton, “Miranda’s musical is just five years old, and yet, through today’s eyes is rubbing some as insufficiently honest about the Founding Fathers’ roles in slavery. It doesn’t avoid the issue — there are plenty of references to slavery throughout the musical…No art should be above criticism, and there are certainly ways to see Hamilton as glossing over that ugly history. But that’s also OK — it’s not the job of art to be honest… Some of the best art is uncomfortable, often offensive, and thought-provoking. Miranda’s musical is — and is allowed to be — all of those things.”
Watch the trailer here.
Lin-Manuel Miranda accepts the charges
Amidst the buzz going around the controversy on Disney Plus’ adaptation of the Broadway musical drama, Miranda chose to respond. After setting his Twitter account to private for a brief period of time due to the backlash, Miranda said, “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.”
Hamilton might have failed to land on the good books of the audience but the debate on which is superior –the art or the subject –is a never-ending one. What are your thoughts on the recent production of Hamilton? Let us know in the comments below!