There aren’t too many things that one could get Barack Obama, Dick Cheney, Laverne Cox, and Mike Pence to agree on. But like just about everyone else in America, all four have expressed their admiration for “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel’s breathlessly feel-good play about one of America’s founding fathers.
Enter Ishmael Reed. He thinks “Hamilton” is racist propaganda.
Ishmael Reed is a playwright, poet, and novelist who had his first major hit, Mumbo Jumbo, in 1972 — before “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was even alive. He has hated “Hamilton” since it first came out in 2015, writing a series of articles about how Miranda’s musical is a falsification of history.
The thing is — he’s got a point.
A lot of historians have pointed out that Hamilton isn’t quite the anti-slavery hero that Lin-Manuel Miranda makes him out to be: Hamilton’s wife’s family owned slaves, and Hamilton himself was personally involved in managing those slaves.
Now, Ishmael Reed has taken his beef to its logical meta conclusion, and written an entire play about how much Hamilton sucks.
VICE News went to New York to meet up with “Hamilton” superfans — and haters — to find out why this beloved musical is causing arguments.