Unless you’ve been under a rock, you likely heard about the latest cross-section where entertainment and politics converged in a major way. This weekend, both the Broadway smash Hamilton: An American Musical and TV staple Saturday Night Live had something to say to President-Elect Donald Trump. And both times Trump decided to take to Twitter to lash out against the entertainment giants.
Though, in the case of Hamilton, his demand for an apology is a bit perplexing. In case you missed the meat and potatoes of the story, here’s what happened at the end of the performance at the end of the politically-charged Broadway smash on Friday:
Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr in the historical musical, delivered the following message to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence at the end of the show:
“Thank you so much for joining us tonight. You know, we had a guest in the audience this evening. And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you’re walking out but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments. There’s nothing to boo here ladies and gentlemen. There’s nothing to boo here, we’re all here sharing a story of love.
We have a message for you, sir.
We hope that you will hear us out. And I encourage everybody to pull out your phones and tweet and post because this message needs to be spread far and wide, OK?
Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton: An American Musical, we really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us â€” our planet, our children, our parents â€” or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.
Again, we truly thank you for sharing this show. This wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men [and] women of different colors, creeds, and orientations.”
To his credit, VP-elect Pence said he wasn’t troubled by the speech at all. On Sunday he said that, as Dixon was addressing him, he turned to his son and said, “That’s is what freedom sounds like.” He wasn’t sure that this was the time or place for this plea from the cast of Hamilton, but he claims to have had no inherent issue with what they said.
President-Elect Trump, on the other hand, went on twitter to demand an apology for what he viewed as “harassment” by the Hamilton cast.
Dixon, though, sees things differently. During an appearance on CBS This Morning earlier today, he addressed Trump’s demands for an apology and the depiction of his remarks as some sort of attack.
Here’s what Dixon had to say on the matter:
“There’s nothing to apologize for.
The producers, the creators, and the cast, we recognize that â€˜Hamiltonâ€™ is an inherently American story told by the definition of an American community; we are men and women of different colors, creeds, and orientations. The resonant nature of the show throughout the world, throughout the global community, demands that we make statements when there are important issues facing us as a community, so we wanted to stand up and spread a message of love and of unity.
Art is meant to bring people together.“
Indeed, there’s been a bit of mischaracterization going on since these events unfolded on Friday night. Trump’s tweets on the matter seem to indicate that the cast of the show was rude and cruel towards Pence, yet- if you look at what was actually said- all they did was respectfully ask that he keeps in mind what’s best for Americans of all races, creeds, and orientations. It was a very PC, very respectful message. Even Pence understood that.
“I did hear what was said from the stage, and I can tell you I wasnâ€™t offended by what was said,” Pence said on Fox News Sunday. Pence also said Hamilton was “an incredible production with incredibly talented people,â€ and noted that it was â€œa real joy to be there.” His only caveat came when he said, “Iâ€™ll leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it.”
So, all in all, it sounds like Dixon and Pence both agree: There’s nothing to apologize for.
Also, considering the history between the real-life Alexander Hamilton and Vice President Aaron Burr, one could argue that the show having something to say to Pence was as Hamilton as it gets.
It was also revealed that the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, had a hand in crafting the post-show statement. Miranda’s next project, the Disney animated musical Moana, comes out on Friday.
It’s always interesting when politics and entertainment crossover like this. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of this kind of stuff over the next four years.