It’s almost time, nerds…Hamilton is coming to Disney+ this Saturday! Everyone here at TGON has been pumped for this day since Lin-Manuel Miranda first announced that his hit Broadway musical would one day be released to the public, and I’m sure you have too. So, it’s my pleasure to announce that we will be doing a Hamilton Watch Party!
Join me and TGON at 11 am on Saturday, July 4th for a Hamilton watch party on Twitter! Use hashtag #TGONHamiltonParty to interact directly with us!
Miranda announced earlier this year that the filmed version of the show would drop on the 4th of July — how fitting for a revolutionary show such as this! However, with the Black Lives Matter sweeping both the nation and the globe, this show and its release date bring a new perspective to its relation with current events.
Hamilton caught the world by storm with its imaginative re-telling of a Founding Father. Brimming with hip-hop and rap influence that puts a twist on history, it was no wonder the show quickly gained popularity. In addition to that, the cast has been full of Black musicians despite the historical figures have been white. This sparked contention when the show debuted, but I believe it’s going to be even more interesting to see social media feeds in 2020.
Many non-POC have shown they’re true colors in the past couple of months in regard to racism, and most of those people still cling to the idea that what was written over 200 years ago should remain in place despite the inevitable change in times. It’s likely this message will still flood our feeds as people enjoy the Hamilton show this weekend, but can anyone truly maintain that idea while praising a show that takes white history and puts it in the hands of Black artists?
By taking revolutionary-era history and using Black music to put a twist on a Founding Father’s life, Lin-Manuel Miranda helps tell Alexander Hamilton’s story from a Black perspective. Historically, casting for a play doesn’t necessarily focus on race — the actor’s ability to capture the character takes precedent. Crazy, right? And there’s no doubt that this was also true when casting Hamilton. But it’s funny how building a cast based on the culture of Black Americans leads to a predominantly Black cast, huh? Both the music choices and the cast give the life of Alexander Hamilton an entirely new perspective in that the story of a white revolutionary simply by using Black culture to tell the story.
Hamilton could have been akin to 1776, another musical set during the Revolutionary War. But by using hip-hop influence in the music, Lin-Manuel Miranda brings race to the forefront of his audience’s minds. And right now that’s going to be a major focal point when the show premiers on Disney+ and everyone has access to it. To see a predominantly Black cast retell the story of white revolutionaries is truly revolutionary in itself, but how many people will claim to love this show while also maintaining racist ideals?
With the Black Lives Matter movement in full swing, seeing posts from such people is inevitable. But we need to remember that Hamilton is much more than a Broadway smash — it is a work that reclaims white history and puts Black people in the roles of politicians who “founded” a country built on the backs of enslaved Africans. This a point that we, as BLM supporters, must remember. On a day that celebrates the United States’s independence from an oppressor, it is up to us to remember those who forced to sacrifice themselves for this cause and advocate for their descendants who are still fighting for human rights.
Releasing Hamilton on the 4th of July was no doubt a move made simply because of the historical significance of the show. But we are in the middle of a different revolution fueled by the same racism against Black Americans that began hundreds of years ago. As you enjoy Hamilton this weekend, I encourage you to also keep in mind the history that is unfolding before you. History has its eye on us all, so how are we helping Black people take back their history and fight against the systemic racism they’ve endured for centuries?
Please join us on July 4, 2020, for a Hamilton watch party on Twitter using hashtag #TGONHamilton! You can find both The Game of Nerds and myself on Twitter, so give us a follow and don’t give away your shot to have some musical fun with us!