Hamilton’s “Non-White Casting Call” – Skittles
Broadway’s Hamilton is famous for it’s hip hop interpretation of history, history that is greatly populated by white men in actuality. Although the musical hit did not avoid controversy with its attempt to diversify this history. The casting call for actors was aimed at getting a cast of POC, but in the description they did not say “we want POC” but instead said “non-white”, which was where the discrimination claim came from. However, while the wording might have been a little off putting, their intent was in the right place and you can disagree with how they worded the call while also recognizing their good intention. It would have been a whole different problem if they had incorporated hip hop music into a play about white people, played by all white actors. They give history that is often seen as boring a modern twist and make it appealing to a wider audience while giving POC actors the chance to tell these stories using hip hop. Some felt that the play only wanting actors of color was “reverse racism” against whites, but as pointed out in the Huffington Post, if these roles were played by equally talented and qualified actors who were white, it would probably be just as entertaining a show, but it would be a totally different experience. To incorporate hip hop and rap music into these stories about dead white men while they are played by people of color is a statement on its own and there is another ‘reverse racist’ about wanting a diverse cast and to make a statement. There are constantly casting calls in the entertainment industry to have only white actors and these calls are rarely called racist, they’re written off as ‘just wanting a certain person’ or ‘that’s who the character is’ etc.
Michelle: Why It’s Not Reverse Racism
Broadway’s musical Hamilton: An American Musical has been highly praised for incorporating so many genre of music such as hip hop, blues, pop, and so forth. The broadway blockbuster has been known to use performers of diverse backgrounds to represent historical white male figures of history, most importantly known as our founding fathers. In 2016, when Hamilton released announcements for their casting call, they specifically titled “Seeking Non-White Performers” which caused many people to argue this was the prevalence of reverse racism. Broadway has been known for being dominated by white performers and always perceiving specific gender, race, age since the beginning. Excluding the circumstance of a musical that is based on cultures of Black and Latinos, such as Motown, the Lion King, or In the Heights. Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Hamilton exemplifies diversity in a history that has always been about white people and recognized white men; having Black and Brown performers take on the roles of credited, respected people in history, then it provides the needed space for these actors that hasn’t been provided before due to the domination of whiteness. This hip hop era piece solemnly represents and breathes the hip hop culture to represent a story that identifies the racial complex history America is known to have the foundation of. Having a diverse cast represents the real meaning of American culture, which is made up of all its people.
Kaitlyn: Conflicting Views
Two years ago the Broadway Musical Hamilton was under fire for its “Non-White Casting Call” The conflicting views were “surprisingly” between angry white people and everyone else. The white people, ever so quickly to yell reverse racism, felt that it was discriminatory. In a Huffington Post article written by Zeba Blay, she pointed out that from a legal standpoint, “ in the rules of professional theatre, the use of “Non-” anything is considered discrimination. What they should have done was specify what races they wanted, not what race they did not want. That was their mistake.” This was all because of semantics. The white people that were upset by this seem to be unaware how casting calls work. Directors are seeking people who fit the role of the character, someone who possesses the same age, height and appearance. Everyone else understands that this is not racist towards white people because reverse racism isn’t real. White people are so used to having access to wherever we want that the second we are excluded it becomes headline news. Due to our privilege, there is the belief that we have the right to occupy space anywhere. A prime example of this was when there was national news coverage when a BLM rally in NYC said “no whites allowed” The main takeaway from this is that this was only an issue because it affected yt people and threatened their privilege.