If You Stand For Nothing, What Will You Fall For? (My Ode to Hamiliton)


It's almost here! Only one more day until the Disney+ premiere of the award-winning musical ‘Hamilton’, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda! You can’t see me right now but trust that I am smiling from ear to ear.😁


        I originally saw Hamilton off-Broadway at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in August 2018. It was not with the original cast but the performers were amazing and I loved every minute of it! Fast forward two years and I’m still listening to the soundtrack on repeat. I began to ask myself why does this particular musical resonate with me so much? For better context, I love musicals. I think I inherited it from my mother; often singing the tunes of a recently seen show or movie for days or a couple weeks. But for years? Without any prompting? This was new.


        Maybe it was the colorblind casting and seeing people who looked like me portraying the founding fathers. The tingles that went through my body when they sang ‘Here comes the General' and a Black man appeared on stage playing George Washington were electrifying. Maybe it was the choice of music that Lin-Manuel Miranda used; opting for songs influenced by hip hop, a sound that resonates with younger generations. Or maybe it was the words and sentiment behind his work. A call for action of the exploited and overlooked to ‘Rise Up!’, that seems like it was written for exactly what we are going through today.


With the current state of our nation, and the release of the musical, I wanted to try to do something creative. Writing a piece expressing my feelings of the ongoing racial injustices with the help of the words from Hamilton.


(Note: For those you have not seen the musical yet I will italicize all words directly quoted from the show.)




'We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.’ Apparently when the Declaration of Independence was written the writers didn't understand the definition of all. And, unfortunately, during the 11 years between the signing of the Declaration (August 1776) and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution (September 1787), they didn’t have the time to learn that definition or the meaning of we. So when the preamble was written...


“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”


 ...we the people didn’t include all the people.


I haven’t always had the wherewithal to speak my mind so freely. Often adopting Aaron Burr’s strategy to ‘Talk less. Smile More. Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for.’ But this can no longer be. Silence is acceptance and ‘I’d rather be divisive instead of indecisive.’


‘Check it. Can I be real a second? For just a millisecond? Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?’ I have no issues with the words written above from our founding fathers. Actually, I found them inspiring. The problem is, until ‘We the People’ truly includes ALL the people, we’ll never have a perfect Union.


  • Where is the justice for Breonna Taylor who was shot 8 times in her sleep?

  • Elijah McClain’s general welfare was not taken into account as he was choked and subsequently killed while walking home.

  • Then on May 25th in Minneapolis, Minnesota during an arrest George Floyd lost his life as an officer kneeled on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.


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‘The world turned upside down’. This was the last straw. The nonsensical, lack of regard for human life became too much.Taking race out of the picture, no one should have to endure having a knee on their neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while they beg for their life. Protests erupted around the U.S. and the world. ‘The world turned upside down’.


But ‘Look Around, Look Around at how lucky we are to be alive right now’ I know it may not seem like it. However, I truly believe we are on the crux of something big, or maybe I’m just full of unfounded hope. The masses are finally waking up to the brutality that people of color encounter on a daily basis at the hands of those who are hired to ‘protect & serve’. Some criticize the protests. Try their best to undermine the message. Reduce them to mere violent riots. But when you knock [us] down [we] get the f@#k back up again!


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In case you are not aware, the nationwide protests over police brutality, the death of George Floyd (and countless others), and the overarching issue of systemic racism has produced some noteworthy change or proposals for change.


  • Minneapolis announced it would dismantle its police department and rebuild from the ground up.

  • Other police departments across the country have vowed to improve accountability for their officers.

  • Lawmakers are working on reforming legislation.

  • Democrats unveiled a sweeping police reform bill that would make it easier to charge officers with “use of excessive force”, and curtail “qualified immunity” for those involved in wrongful injuries or deaths.


To learn more about these and other changes read Vox’s ‘How 2 weeks of protests have changed America’.




And just like that, [some people think] it's over. We tend to our wounded, we count our dead. Black and white [protestors] wonder alike if this really means freedom. Not yet.


But,‘I know that we [ALL] can win. I know that greatness lies in you. But remember from here on in, history has its eyes on you.’ This is our time to shine, and no - I’m not only referring to people of color. It is up to ALL of us to work together to be better. We have a shot to create a more loving, accepting, and understanding world for our descendants. One that guarantees justice, ensures tranquility, provides the common defence, and promotes liberty and posterity for ALL. We all play a role in this and ‘I am not throwing away my shot’.


In the eye of a hurricane. There is quiet. For just a moment. A yellow sky. I'll write my way out. Overwhelm them with honesty. This is the eye of the hurricane, this is the only way I can protect [our] legacy. I’ll write my way out.


I will continue to use my platform to educate people on how to build financial security but I will also use it to voice my opinion on important issues when I deem it warranted. And Racial Equality is Important


Therefore, let’s try to be kinder to one another. Not judge each other on stereotypes. Let us prosper together as a country and build an actual perfect union. So maybe one day we can all truly…


‘Raise a Glass to Freedom. Something they can never take away. No matter what they tell you. Let’s have another round tonight. 

Raise a glass to the four of us, tomorrow they’ll be more of us. 

Telling the story of tonight.’

Comments

  1. Great post! I saw Hamilton live and loved every second of it. Just as you said before I've been listening to it almost on a daily basis sometimes. Maybe that's why I can't help but sing the parts you've added in. It's a sad truth that all the way back then things that they were dealing with we are still dealing with. And that since the Founding Father didn't make it clear that We the People mean all the people that we are still fighting for basic freedoms that others have taking for grated all their lives. Earlier you said that you were like Aaron Burr and I find myself that way at times too "Willing to wait for it" but you're right we have to stand up and fight and it's great that so many people are speaking out these days. So I'm going to raise my glass to freedom. Tomorrow there will be more of us. #BlackLivesMatter

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    1. Thanks for the comment Ez! You're so right. We can't just sit around and 'Wait for it'. We have to be/make the change we want to see.

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    2. As someone who has not been following Hamilton, I really enjoyed this post and learned a lot! I knew the sound tracks were popular and that the cast is fantastic, but I love that they did not base roles on skin color. I think I would have had a similar feeling as you did when you saw the general come out and felt the excitement of seeing representation on stage.

      Much like you, I find it insane and unacceptable that racism is clearly alive and well (if not thriving). I am also utilizing my platform to highlight these issues, particularly in the next few months as this conversation is likely to fade from the national scene as people go back to their "normal lives". Thanks for the post!

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    3. Thanks Kat for the comment! I agree that we will start to see the national conversation for Social Justice and Racial Equality start to dwindle, I feel like it's slowly already happening. So excited to hear that you are utilizing your platform to highlight these issues. I intend to continue to do the same!

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  2. OMG! This piece was Everything I never knew I needed! Having just been exposed to the Awesomeness that is Hamilton, I can't help but to smile from ear to ear reading this! As a POC, I know all too well the endless racist occurrences that have gone on for far too long in a country that claims "liberty and justice for all."

    This was a very creative and inciteful way of using this creative play as a means to get your point across. All lives won't matter until Black Lives Matter! I a firm believer in that!

    I look forward to your blog pieces every week! You continue to amaze me with your wit and financial literacy! This was just another gem that I hope many others read and find intriguing!

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    1. Thanks Britt! I always look forward to your comments. Glad you enjoyed the piece and glad you got to see Hamilton!

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