Does Hamilton Musical Whitewash Enslavers?
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FEATURING STEPHANIE ABRAHAM – Fans of musical theater were thrilled when the wildly popular play Hamilton by Lin Manuel-Miranda was released on the Disney Plus channel on July 3rd far ahead of schedule. The boundary breaking musical has earned rave reviews for years for retelling the story of American independence in a fresh manner, using a non-white cast and through cutting-edge clever hip hop rhymes.
But today, as demands for racial justice reach a boiling point with a long-overdue reckoning of the US’s racist history, some are calling on fans of Hamilton to view it with a critical eye. Not only was founding father Alexander Hamilton’s link to slavery controversial, the play as a whole makes many gestures toward anti-racism without casting much criticism on the ugly legacies of founding fathers themselves.
Stephanie Abraham is a writer, media critic and the marketing and communications specialist at Cal Poly Pomona. Her writings have appeared in numerous publications, such as Al Jazeera, Ms. Magazine and the Arab American journal Mizna. She was part of the editorial collective who founded the feminist magazine Make/shift and the founding editor of the feminist magazine LOUDmouth. She is the Pop Culture Correspondent and Film Critic for Rising Up With Sonali.