Boy howdy that Hamilton musical sure is good ain’t it (or at least the album’s great fun to listen to)
There’s was one part of ‘The Room Where It Happens’ that I could envision clearly & so I tried putting it down to paper! I recommend you read it while listening to the music, even if this is only a small part of the song!!
i’m gonna need people whose only reference to hiphop is “hamilton” to take several seats when talking about hiphop
My contribution to @jovaline‘s amazing project, #Ham4Pamphlet!! I was lucky enough to draw for Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.
You can check out the other amazing art pieces here, and see how Arielle went backstage to give these pamphlets to the cast members personally!
I’m so tired of watching oblivious, white hamilton bloggers ignore and argue with Facts™:
- lmm’s a non-black person with no right to claim or use n-word. he said it, uncensored, in the Hamiltome while quoting Daveed, a black man referencing a rap lyric written by another black person. it was censored in the text of the book.
- hip-hop has roots in the Latinx community as well as the African-American and Caribbean communities, but he’s made millions off a predominantly black art form without telling the stories of any black people, and in some cases, actively erasing them. Cato, a black man kept in bondage by Hercules Mulligan, heavily assisted Mulligan’s intelligence work.
- also, “No one else was in / The room where it happened” as if Jefferson, who “arranged the menu, the venue, the seating,” didn’t have his slaves serving whatever was consumed during the “Dinner Table Bargain”?
- in the end, Hamilton continued the dangerous trend of romanticizing the founding fathers. some of these men were actual rapists, all were racists and cowards. they founded a country built on the exploitation and abuse of black people. there is nothing wrong with an interest in this historical era and even these historical figures. that is, unless you’re denying the facts of what they did and how their actions still affect millions today.
- why say Hamilton in the musical is bisexual and not throw in more than a “Laurens, I like you a lot”? depending on your interpretation of surviving Hamilton-Laurens correspondence–censored by Hamilton’s son after his death–there is historical evidence for feelings on Hamilton’s side at the least.
- the closest we ever get to mentioning Washington owning slaves is “turn n’ go back to plantin’ tobacco in Mount Vernon” and, in the live show, him nodding and stepping back when Eliza mentions slavery in the finale.
- slavery’s used as a tool to show the goodness of Hamilton and those aligned with him. the worst example of this is when Hamilton refers to the Revolutionary Set as “a bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionists.” Mulligan (and Burr) owned slaves. Hamilton rented them for his own purposes, allowed slave-related ads in the NY Evening Post, and bought them for immediate family like Angelica.
- the Schuylers were a slave owning family. this didn’t bother Hamilton enough to court someone aside from Eliza. that, or it’s consistent with how any anti-slavery sentiment he harbored was secondary to his social station and political agendas.
- Laurens was the only real abolitionist, historically, and even he opposed forced manumission out of a belief in property rights.
as a black person, I appreciate Hamilton as a piece of art that has dynamic, multi-dimensional roles meant for people of color. as a writer and fangirl, I especially love thinking about its creation closely mirrors that of fic au: identifying with a character while reading the source material, going “but what if so and so?”, and then putting one’s own spin on it.
but art, fanfiction (which is famed for the research dedicated writers do about everything but people of color) and other types of transformative works included, do not exist in a vacuum. they’re part of the real world. a world where antiblackness, American history, glorification of the Founding Fathers, the downplaying of slavery, the erasure of historical black figures, and heteronormativity are real things that hurt real people.
Using black music and black actors in a play about slave owners is not genius or revolutionary. It’s appropriating and fucking disgusting.
You… You do realize this is a play written by a POC, performed by POC, and pretty much entirely defined by POC from the ground up, right? This isn’t “appropriating,” this isn’t a white person taking advantage of black bodies to subvert or erase their voice, this is POC telling a story using their style and their choices and their history.
At no point does the play try to ignore that these are slave owners, that these characters are white and hypocritical and at no point is the audience asked to forgive them or ignore these points.
With lines like “Black and White soldiers wonder alike if this will mean freedom” and Washington being the one to say “not yet” – the slave owner, and it doesn’t let you forget it. Jefferson is repeatedly called out on hypocrisy and his slave owner status.
I fail to see how POC telling the story of Hamilton – an immigrant, as the play repeatedly makes the point – and the American Revolution – just as important for Americans who aren’t white, it’s their country too – is “appropriative”
One of the taglines is “The story of America then, told by America now.” If it was just black actors being used to tell the story about slave owners, then yes, I’d agree that there was a problem, but it’s NOT that simple.
Lin-Manuel is NOT BLACK, which is the point of this post. POC =/= black. Meaning it is fucking offensive that someone not black is making money off retelling the history of abolition with BLACK music like R&B and rap. Casting black people as their ancestors’ oppressors isn’t ground-breaking by any means.
“immigrant” shut the fuck up you colossal fucking idiot. Hamilton’s wife made a living off slave trading. Thomas Jefferson is a slave rapist. Did your precious slavery play mention that?
the slave Thomas Jefferson was also FOURTEEN YEARS OLD. and his wife’s sister, if sexual assault on an imprisoned child is not bad enough for you
I like Hamilton, but true.
The point about slave owners? True.
Calling rap solely Black music?
The creation of rap owes just as much to Bronx Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean Latinos, and to ignore their influence is fucking disingenuous.
The last time I mentioned the Caribbean influence on hip hop, someone questioned my knowledge like I was just pulling facts out of my ass. DJ Kool Herc, a black Jamaican created hip hop; there’s no disputing that the music was a black movement that evolved from music that black people created.
Hip hop was considered black music when it arrived, and Bronx Latinos (some of them Caribbean Latinos of Afro-descent) who grew up with the hip hop movement have said as much. Nevertheless, they were accepted in hip hop despite that, they’ve had a space, and they’ve influenced the culture.
This reductive commentary doesn’t take into account that the black people in the play (and the other poc involved) have spoken extensively about Hamilton’s cultural and personal importance. Leslie Odom Jr. has a degree in AfAm studies; it’s not like he’s completely clueless about his own history. Daveed Diggs is a talented rapper who was homeless–either couch surfing or riding the subway all night when he didn’t have anywhere to stay. Many hip hop legends have seen the play and praise it as a credit to hip hop.
There are a myriad of problems with how white people engage with the show. The amount of lyrics that end up imposed over gifsets of white people can attest to that. There are also some aspects of the show that make me uncomfortable, but the argument is more nuanced than “this is the worst thing to ever happen to black people and rap music.”
Okay, I had to come off break to reblog this because YES, YES, YES. Thank you for saying this.
Really, some of the people talking about hip-hop with how it relates to Hamilton are really showing their age, because it’s clear they have absolutely ZERO clue as to this history of the music before the late-90s (at most). I remember that ask you got, and couldn’t believe that person claimed that rap came out of the Civil Rights movement. No it did not. In point of fact, many people of the Civil Rights generation hated rap/hip-hop, and saw it as a degrading music art form wrt African Americans. I say this AS an African-American, as a little girl I remember those talks in the 80s, debates and hand-wringing among older African Americans about rap music. So to try and cut New York-based Lations, especially the black-latinos, who were part of the foundation of the genre out of the history, and try to say it was only a purely African-American thing is to just be wilfully ignorant of the history of the music.
Lin-Manuel Miranda and I are around the same age. We both grew up during the time when rap was first growing up in the early/mid 80s. Our canons are different because he grew up in New York and I grew up in Southern California, but you can tell just from how he wrote the music in Hamilton and how he talks about the music that he clearly knows it’s history, nuances and everything, because he lived right in the middle of it, and was a part of the culture of it. Which is more than I can say for some of the people trying to call him out for appropriation here on tumblr.
There are real, nuance debates to be had about what the musical accomplishes or doesn’t wrt POC, slavery, narrative, etc. But from what I’m seeing, some of the people trying to come for Hamilton don’t actually appear to be doing that at all, and are just engaging in tumblr social justice buzzwords and call-out culture without any real thought behind a lot of it.
And really. To ignore what the actual African American people in the cast have had to say on these subjects, or just assume they’re saying it because of money, is to just want to reinforced your own opinions on the show and not want to really engaged in any real debate about it anyway.
cast of Hamilton are taking a #Bam4Ham field trip to the White House, and at the
moment you can see the President’s introduction (starting at 44:00) and
the performances of Alexander Hamilton and My Shot (at ~55:00) in this official presidential
video (!) of their visit.
don’t know how long this will stay up (it was posted 5.30pm March 14th) but I’m sharing it now as it is
absolutely worth a listen – and a look! Can’t miss the expressions on
their faces, or the sparkle in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s eye at being back in
the room where it first happened, back in 2009.