The musical Hamilton may be a major hit for Disney+, but it didn't debut on the streaming service without controversy. As fans eagerly waited for the hit musical to drop on the streamer earlier this month, discussions surrounding the musical's handling of slavery were sparked. Many believe that Hamilton glossed over Alexander Hamilton's controversial, slave-owning past, which is a criticism creator Lin-Manuel Miranda calls "valid."
On Monday, Miranda, who created and starred in the musical, acknowledged the discussions surrounding Hamilton as "valid." He said that "the sheer tonnage of complexities and failings of these people I couldn't get. Or wrestled with but cut." Although he said that he did his "best," he said that "it’' all fair game" when it comes to any controversy surrounding the musical.
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
Miranda's remarks came in response to the ongoing controversy, which had been renewed in the days leading up to the musical's Disney+ premiere. At the center of the discussion is the fact that the musical all but glosses over the issue of slavery, portraying Hamilton and the other Founding Fathers as honorable figures while glossing over the fact that they contributed to slavery. The issue of slavery is hardly mentioned at all, with the most notable exception being when Hamilton confronts Thomas Jefferson about how the South built its strong economy using slaves.
That fact led to plenty of discussions across social media. Scholar Roxane Gay tweeted, "I have a lot of thoughts about Hamilton and the way it idealizes the founders, and how such a brilliant musical dangerously elides they realities of slavery." Another person wrote that people should acknowledge that "'Hamilton is a great show that introduced a lot of people to theater' and 'the erasure of slavery and the depictions of the characters are problematic' are two things that can exist at the same time!"
Despite the controversy, Hamilton easily became a significant success for Disney+. Dropping on the platform on July 3 — more than five years after its Broadway debut — and inspired a 72.4 percent increase in downloads for Disney+. Unsurprisingly, it also became a trending topic on Twitter throughout the weekend as fans tuned in to watch it.