or more accurately to stop dragging its corpse
Liberal America, I come before you today, a little bit hung-over from the Emmys, with one simple request: please let Hamilton die. I have just been forced to endure seeing this historically airbrushed monstrosity of Broadway win an Emmy.
An Emmy. For a Broadway show. Which came out six years ago.
Listen, I get it. It makes a certain subset of well-off white liberals feel very fuzzy inside to reimagine a bunch of slave-rapers as a diverse group of young rebels with good intentions. It lets you off the hook for all that capital — economic, political, and social — you’ve built up on the backs of people who look like the cast of Hamilton. You even get to pat yourself on the back for finally liking rap music!
The icing on the cake is that when it comes time to give out awards, you’ve got the Green Book of musical theater ready and waiting to hand a bunch of trophies to without rattling the status quo. Did artists of color create a subversive work of genre television which directly implicates white liberals in their continued oppression? No need to worry! Just record Hamilton for distribution through the largest entertainment conglomerate in the world and nominate it alongside that scary newer work. Hand it another award at the end of the night and use that as a shield against criticism. How can people possibly say #EmmysSoWhite when Lin-Manuel Miranda has another gold statue collecting dust on his shelf? They can’t. Reverse Uno, haters!
Here’s the thing, though. The show has been running since 2015, and the longer you keep it on life support, the more evident it becomes that the white establishment, from the Television Academy to Barack Obama, doesn’t care about marginalized identities. They only care about rewriting history to fit their narratives. (Ironically, the right-wing whines about “rewriting history” when a confederate statue is toppled but seem to strongly dislike Hamilton even though it has done far more to distort the history of racism in America than any bronzed bust of Robert E. Lee.)
So, I am once again begging you to just let the damn thing die. Even the cast has moved on. Lin-Manuel Miranda smiles and nods when people talk about Hamilton, but I think he’s starting to develop a permanent eye twitch from resisting the urge to grab interviewers by the lapel and scream, “Move on, white boy! I made a problematic thing and it turned into the biggest musical theater production since Lion King because people like you won’t stop jerking off to it! Just let me move on with my life!” Meanwhile, DaVeed Diggs can’t be bothered to show enthusiasm anymore. And why should he? His career as a rapper has moved on to far more interesting things. Look at these pre-show pictures from this week’s Emmys. This is a man who is Done pretending to care about a role that was, at best, a stepping stone to larger things.
Just stop. It’s already dead. Please, for the love of all that is good in this world, discover some other, better BIPoC art and let the damn thing go out with dignity.