Lin-Manuel Miranda is aware of the controversy surrounding his insanely popular musical “Hamilton.”
After the film version of the stage play debuted on Disney+ last week, several social media users discussed resurfaced allegations that the musical — about the life and death of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton — fails to adequately address America’s involvement with slavery.
In particular, Tracy Clayton, the co-host of podcast “Another Round,” wrote on Twitter that she understands the criticisms about “Hamilton” but is still able to enjoy it as a work of art.
“I totally get the frustration about it being a play about slaveholders that is not about slavery. I’ve felt that in lots of things I watch, but I flex the same muscle I use when I listen to hip-hop as a black woman. We enjoy problematic things all the time,” she tweeted.
i totally get the frustration about it being a play about slaveholders that is not about slavery. ive felt that in lots of things i watch, but i flex the same muscle i use when i listen to hip hop as a black woman. we enjoy problematic things all the time— tracy clayton aka CHUBBA BEEF (@brokeymcpoverty) July 5, 2020
On Monday, Miranda — who wrote the music, lyrics, and book based off of the 2004 biography “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow — responded to Clayton, writing, “All the criticisms are valid.”
“The sheer tonnage of complexities & failings of these people I couldn’t get. Or wrestled with but cut,” Miranda explained. “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.”
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
While there is no evidence that Alexander Hamilton owned slaves, it is believed that his mother owned two slaves and that his wife Elizabeth Schuyler belonged to a slave-owning family in Albany, New York.
Per The New Journal of African History, Hamilton became involved with the slave trade in the Caribbean when he took over the operations of an import-export business.
In 1785, he joined John Jay and others in founding the New-York Manumission Society, which lobbied to pass the Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery in 1799.