As hundreds of thousands of people rallied across America in recent weeks protesting against Trump’s vicious immigration policies – brutally separating children from parents at the Mexican-US border and throwing them unaccompanied into the criminal justice system – Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of box office-obliterating, awards-decimating, superlative-defying, blockbuster stage musical Hamilton, was in the vanguard.
“We’re here because there’s parents right now who can’t sing lullabies to their kids,” said Miranda at a recent Washington DC march for the Families Belong Together campaign, referencing the more than 2,000 children separated from their families with no clear or coherent plan for them to be reunited.
We’re not going to stop marching and protesting until these families are reunited
Calling for “absolute humane treatment of those who come seeking asylum”, he added: “We’re not going to stop marching and protesting until these families are reunited.” He led the crowd in an a capella version of tender and powerful Hamilton number Dear Theodosia, the lyrics never more poignant: “If we lay a strong enough foundation / We’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you / And you’ll blow us all away / Someday, someday.”
No cultural phenomenon has resonated more loudly in these politically turbulent times than the phenomenally successful Hamilton, which since 2015 has been selling out Broadway, Chicago and London’s West End, as well as multiple tours. Through the story of 18th-century Founding Father of America, Alexander Hamilton, and the American Wars of Independence, it is fiercely relevant today, and especially this week, as President Donald Trump brings a different brand of diplomacy to British shores.
In tune with Miranda, all associated with Hamilton have used every platform to issue a rallying cry for humanity, equality and social justice. Picking up the Olivier Award for his role as vice president Aaron Burr, actor Giles Terera delivered the now much-requoted line: “Diversity is not a policy, it is life.”
And Leslie Garcia Bowman, who plays British general Charles Lee in the West End production, points to another frequently shared Hamilton quote: “My favourite line, and it always gets a reaction every night, is when they say, ‘Immigrants, we get the job done’. It is incredible for us to say that because there are so many immigrants in our cast, me being one of them. And to own that line is something that we’re very proud of.” Such is its resonance that a Hamilton Mixtape track titled ‘Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)’ was released last year, with a video featuring rap stars Riz MC (Riz Ahmed), Residente, K’naan and Snow Tha Product.