Hamilton, the hip-hop musical starring the Founding Fathers and the best thing on planet Earth right now, recently found itself in a spot of controversy when some took umbrage with a casting call that said the show was “seeking non-white men and women” for its lead cast. Some made a stink about the listing, labeling it with made-up phrases like “reverse racism” and other nonsense. Though the wording of the listing was changed to state that the characters (and not the sought after actors) would be non-white, a spokesperson for the show reaffirmed the cast and crew’s philosophy of only casting people of color for its revolutionary leads.
Honestly, what I found most astonishing about the whole incident was that it was the first time I’d seen any amount of negativity surrounding the show’s racebending of the Founding Fathers. For months, Hamilton has been taking over pop culture and creating legions of nerd acolytes online having dubbed themselves #Hamiltrash, and not a single time had I seen its black, Latin@, and mixed-race cast discussed with anything less than praise. The only other response to the cast that I’d seen that wasn’t unequivocal adulation was simple astounded admiration at the cast having delivered on the show’s lofty promises.
And that really is surprising; that Hamilton has “gotten away” with racebending the most famous and hallowed white men and women in American history, at a time when race is such a contentious issue.