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Updated on Jul 9, 2020. Posted on Jul 7, 2020

Lin-Manuel Miranda Responded To Criticism Of "Hamilton" After The Hashtag #CancelHamilton Spread On Twitter

"I took 6 years and fit as much as I could in a 2.5 hour show," Miranda wrote on Twitter.

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has responded to critics of the musical after its release on Disney+ last week, calling all criticisms "valid".

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Although the show was met with excitement and praise, some people took it as an opportunity to remind viewers of Hamilton's shortcomings — namely that it brushes past the founding fathers' dealings with slavery.

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While there is no historical evidence that Alexander Hamilton was an enslaver himself, he was by no means innocent in the matter. In an interview with the Harvard Gazette in 2016, historian Annette Gordon-Reed said Hamilton was neither pro-immigrant nor an abolitionist.

"He bought and sold slaves for his in-laws [the Schuyler family], and opposing slavery was never at the forefront of his agenda," she said. "He was not a champion of the little guy, like the show portrays. He was elitist. He was in favour of having a president for life."

She also pointed out that while Hamilton references that Thomas Jefferson kept enslaved people in passing, it ignores the fact that James Madison and George Washington were enslavers too.

"Here's a reminder to never romanticise or glorify these characters since many of the founding fathers were slave owners," one Twitter user wrote.

with hamilton being released on disney+ tomorrow, here’s a reminder to never romanticise or glorify these characters since many of the founding fathers were slave owners. hamilton wasn’t an abolitionist, he was an anti-immigrant elitist who believed in slavery as an institution.

Since “Hamilton” is trending and it’s July 4th, reminder that Alexander Hamilton was born in the Caribbean island of Nevis and fled to the North American mainland to escape impending slave rebellions and capitalize off slavery. He’s no hero. From historian Gerald Horne: (thread)

Others said that while they enjoyed the musical as a show, and believe it should be celebrated for "introducing a lot of people to theatre", fans should still be able to criticise its more problematic elements.

Loved Hamilton but its near erasure of slavery in the narrative is like a musical about Hitler that focuses on the painting.

“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!

"I have a lot of thoughts about Hamilton and the way it idealises the founders, and how such a brilliant musical dangerously elides the realities of slavery," said writer Roxane Gay. "But Leslie Odom Jr put his FOOT in that performance."

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 but Leslie Odom Jr. put his FOOT in that performance. So talented.

Director Ava DuVernay also got involved in the conversation, acknowledging that the show glosses over some of the more "violent" and "troubled" elements of Hamilton's life.

Yep. Bought/owned. Believed in manumission, not abolition. Wrote violent filth about Native people. Believed in only elites holding political power and no term limits. And the banking innovation has troubled roots. That’s why I don’t look to art for my history. I study history. https://t.co/CNnjOWMnyq

"Slavery is not central, for sure," she wrote. "But [Lin] didn't deny or ignore it either. ... I greatly enjoyed the work and was wildly curious after watching. I wouldn't have studied any of those 'founders' like I did if it wasn't for Hamilton and Lin-Manuel."

Slavery is not central, for sure. But he didn’t deny or ignore it either. He made his choices about it. I greatly enjoyed the work and was wildly curious after watching. I wouldn’t have studied any of those “founders” like I did if it wasn’t for #Hamilton and @Lin_Manuel. https://t.co/sBwBQYUi1s

Now Miranda himself has entered the conversation, tweeting on Monday that "all criticisms [of the show] are valid".

Disney Plus

His tweet came in response to a thread from Tracy Clayton, former BuzzFeed writer and host of the Another Round podcast, on which Miranda was interviewed in 2016.

"Hamilton the play and the movie were given to us in two different worlds and our willingness to interrogate things in this way feels like a clear sign of change," Clayton wrote.

im late w the hamilton criticism stuff & im clearly biased but.. i really like that this conversation is happening. hamilton the play and the movie were given to us in two different worlds & our willingness to interrogate things in this way feels like a clear sign of change

"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 said.

She went on: "Hamilton is a flawed play about flawed people written by an imperfect person that gave my flawed and imperfect little life a big boost when i needed it most."

"All the criticisms are valid," Miranda wrote in response. "The sheer tonnage of complexities and failings of these people I couldn't get ... I took 6 years and fit as much as I could in a 2.5 hour 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

This isn't the first time Miranda has spoken on the issue. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2016, he revealed they had cut a "rap battle about slavery" from the show.

Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

"It was Hamilton and Jefferson and Madison knocking it from all sides of the issue ... and in the end, no one does anything," he explained. "Which is what happened in reality! So we realised we were bringing our show to a halt on something that none of them really did enough on."

He also told NPR last month that he thinks the show "hits differently" in the context of the current global conversation about systemic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

"It's a system in which every character in our show is complicit in some way or another," Miranda said.

"Hamilton — although he voiced anti-slavery beliefs — remained complicit in the system," he explained. "And other than calling out Jefferson on his hypocrisy with regards to slavery in Act 2, doesn't really say much else over the course of Act 2. And I think that's actually pretty honest. ... He didn't really do much about it after that. None of them did. None of them did enough."

Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

Contact Ellie Bate at eleanor.bate@buzzfeed.com.

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