Early this morning, at 3 AM EST, the Hamilton movie dropped on Disney+. This isn’t some run of the mill one-shot recording of a live performance in the Richard Rogers Theater. This was a-made-for-the-big-screen (but then early released to our small screens because of COVID-19 movie theater closures) movie starring the original Broadway cast.
And let me tell you, the hype was real. In the days leading up to the film’s release, fans were nearly jumping out of their tweets at the thought of soon being able to endlessly stream one of the most beloved musicals of our time.
Will I be paying for Disney+ just so I can watch @HamiltonMusical ? Yes.
Haven’t I already seen Hamilton before? Yes.
Do I really need to pay for Disney+, just to watch a musical I’ve already seen? YES.
— Lou Goswell (@lou_goswell) July 1, 2020
Going to drink and live tweet @HamiltonMusical tomorrow. 🍹
— MAREN MORRIS (@MarenMorris) July 2, 2020
— Jessie Katz (@Jessificent) July 3, 2020
The hype even had some of the original cast and crew reminiscing about the beginning of live performances nearly five years ago and sharing some never before seen footage of the movie’s filming.
— David Korins (@DavidKorins) July 3, 2020
— RenéeEliseGoldsberry (@ReneeGoldsberry) July 2, 2020
And it seems like the #Hamilfilm drop did not disappoint. Both fans who’ve seen and haven’t seen the live Broadway performance were up in the wee hours of the day getting the first tastes of Lin-Manuel Miranda in all of his Alexander Hamilton glory.
Oh, hey. It’s after midnight, and I’m watching #HamiltonFilm, in the room where I’m clappin’. 😉
— Hil.i.am (@hilaryluros) July 3, 2020
THE FACT THAT THIS IS SO MANY PEOPLE’S FIRST TIME SEEING HAMILTON MAKES ME SO HAPPY AND SO EXCITED FOR THEM! THIS IS AN EXPERIENCE!!!!!!!! #HAMILFILM
— Francis🌙 (@francisdominiic) July 3, 2020
Happy Hamilton Day!
If you really want the full Live On Broadway experience, when Lin-Manuel Miranda first walks on stage as Hamilton, pause the video and stand up and clap for ten minutes. Then sit down and press play again.
— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) July 3, 2020
But, since we’re #blessed to live in this uber-politically polarized year of 2020, it didn’t take much scrolling to find the discussion about whether we really should be celebrating the Hamilton release if it’s just another glorification of the problematic founding fathers.
Hamilton bought and sold slaves
Liberals don’t actually believe in or care about anything other than appearing to be our moral betters (especially on Instagram) https://t.co/9sRTY282fE
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) July 3, 2020
This article below is 4 years old. In light of the upcoming release of Hamilton on Disney Plus on July 3rd, in the moment we are in are folks actually going to celebrate Alexander Hamilton who bought and sold enslaved Africans?
— Rosa A. Clemente (@rosaclemente) June 28, 2020
Conversations like these about the founding fathers are worth having, especially in this moment of reckoning with the racism embedded in our society and institutions. But, as some of the more thoughtful Twitter users pointed out, discussions about Hamilton must be nuanced in order to do any justice to the topic at hand. After all, Hamilton wasn’t just any show about the American Revolution, it was an unprecedented production that opened endless doors for people of color on Broadway.
“liking hamilton as a musical and appreciating the work it has done to give poc more recognition on broadway” and “recognizing that it doesn’t portray history accurately and the founding fathers were actually horrible people” are statements that can coexist
— vinny 🐷💤 (@T3CHNOBL4DE) July 2, 2020
The founding fathers were shit, I will say that with pride.
However I like Hamilton because of the original POC cast. You had BLACK PEOPLE, playing these people. You know how hard it is for black actors to not have stereotypical roles in broadway?
— 📼 ✨Mandi @HamilFilm ✨📼 (@ArachnidVHS) July 2, 2020
There’s no doubt that Hamilton will become part of larger conversations rethinking depictions of the founding fathers, right alongside the statues and history books that society is beginning to pick apart in an attempt to rectify America’s long history of racial injustices. But today, on what Twitter has ordained Hamilton Day, people seem to be taking a moment to just enjoy the show for it’s groundbreaking, once in a lifetime artfulness, appreciating how lucky we are to be alive right now.