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Hamilton star Daveed Diggs: Black Lives Matter offers a new lens on the show

A filmed version of the Broadway musical will stream on Disney+.

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Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson (Disney)

Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson (Disney)

Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson (Disney)

Hamilton star Daveed Diggs has said the protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have prompted him to re-examine the hit show through a different lens, and he has been happy to see protesters carrying signs bearing quotes from the show.

The Broadway star, who won a Grammy and Tony for originating the roles of the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the original run of the show, said the arrival of the filmed version of the production on Disney+ is well timed.

The hit hip hop musical, about the US’s first Treasury Secretary, has been a global sensation and won 11 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize.

The film features footage filmed at The Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in June of 2016 with the original cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Diggs, Leslie Odom Jr and Renee Elise Goldsberry.

Diggs told the PA news agency: “It’s been nice to re-examine the show through a different lens. We were in a similar world but looking at it through a different lens here in the US when we were in the midst of Obama’s presidency and now, Lord willing, toward the tail end of Trump’s presidency.

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#Repost @Rachel.Cargle: "A few weeks ago I made a post about how Americans seemed to make a phenomena out of the Hamilton musical but couldn’t seem to make sense of the powerful movements for freedom that black people were calling for. • Lin-Manuel Miranda reached out to me and we worked together to find parallels between his lyrics and the current times to use as yet another tool to bring attention to realities of what is going on right here and right now. • Swipe through. Make some connections. But your “aha” moment isn’t nearly enough. Ongoing action in anti-racism looks past a passive empathetic moment. It’s taking accountability for what roles we play in this moment in history and DOING something about it in every way that you can. • Head to patreon.com/thegreatunlearn for more learning materials as well as more action tools such as templates for emails to hold your employer and local school district accountable for racial justice." #PastPatientlyWaiting

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“It’s a different lens through which to view the show and I think all art gets to be looked at through the eyes of the times that it is being viewed in, but it is significant that it’s coming out right now in the midst of a global pandemic and a global awakening about the long-lasting effects of slavery and of the value of brown bodies and all of these things.

“And all of these things are baked into the show as well, we are just talking about it through a different lens at the time, so I’m excited that it’s coming out now, so that people can use it.

“It’s nice to see the protest signs that are quoting Hamilton, it’s a good thing.”

Okieriete Onaodowan, who stars in the roles of Hercules Mulligan and James Madison, said he hopes the show inspires more people to take action.

He said: “After watching George Floyd be murdered, basically, for eight minutes and 46 seconds, it kind of sent me into a tailspin.

“A lot of people felt really helpless, that people that we relied on to protect us are actively targeting us.

“One thing this show has done for me is knowing that I’m part of something where it’s telling people to speak out no matter what, to use your voice, to be as loud, to be as obnoxious as you need to be, like Alexander was, be relentless and tell everyone around you ‘This is what I think America should be,’ and then also making it happen.

“Go about creating that America through legislation, through laws, through getting involved. So I’m very grateful that I can put myself behind a project that sends that message at a time when systematic racism is finally being recognised, acknowledged and addressed by the country, mostly.

Hamilton is available to stream on Disney+ now.

PA