‘Hamilton’ cast reflects America



There is a big debate going on in social media (and other places) today over the cast of “Hamilton” delivering a message at the end of last night’s performance to Vice President-elect Pence who was there to enjoy the show.

As he was exiting ahead of the audience one of the cast members, with all others behind him, stepped up, thanked Mr. Pence for attending and delivered a message of diversity to him, which he apparently stopped and listened to as he hit the lobby. (You can see the video by copying and pasting this linnk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWlwrUFiuUw

Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr in the production, read the message to Pence and here is a part of it:

“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, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again, we truly thank you truly for (sharing) this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations.”

Critics online are saying it was an insult to the vice president-elect. From what I see, it wasn’t intended as one but what it was, to me, was: A diverse cast reflecting many others in the country who are fearful of what will become of their freedoms under a Trump Administration. And they have reason to be based on the comments he made on the campaign and his early appointments to his Administration.

As the new leaders of this country, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence have an responsibility to ease those fears.

Mr. Pence could have chosen to hear the message, stay and have a dialogue with the cast and audience about why they, and millions of others, shouldn’t be fearful. That would have been useful. Instead, Mr. Pence left and his new boss, Donald Trump, tweeted this: “Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras ablazing. This should not happen!” And he asked that the cast apologize to Mr. Pence.

Call it free speech, as some are. Call it an insult to the new VP, as some are. What it was, was a polite call for help. They were saying “tell us we shouldn’t be frightened about a Trump presidency and what it means to our rights as American citizens.”

Online I’ve seen comments that the cast was disrespectful and inappropriate in doing what they did.

Maybe they were. But that’s just how afraid people are and rather than tweeting and retreating, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence should assure them they having nothing to fear, if they indeed have nothing to fear.


Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog: bjaycooper.com.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store