"Hamilton's" Detroit-born producer and the Tony Award-winning stage musical's creator have issued public apologies for being slow to support protests in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.
Jeffrey Sellers, who was raised in Oak Park and graduated from the University of Michigan and runs Adventure Man Productions in New York, posted a video via social media over the weekend declaring support for the protesters. "I'm not a politician," Sellers noted. "I'm not an activist. I'm not an expert. I'ma theatre producer. But what I realize today is most importantly I'm an American citizen and silence equals complicity and I apologize for my silence thus far.
"African Americans have always and will always be integral to our success as a nation, as a culture and as a people. I must make it my effort to work with all fo the organizations who are doing so much to support the welfare, livelihood, safety and liberty of African Americans."
With its predominately African-American cast and hip-hop flavored music, "Hamilton" is provocative and groudbreaking in its reimagining of the life of Alexander Hamilton and the birth of the United States. The production was criticized last week for not immediately calling for justice and supporting protesters.
Sellers' message followed "Hamilton" creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, who apologized for not speaking up immediately after Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police and as a wave of protests spread across the country." Miranda noted that both he individually and "Hamilton" as a production had been active in other social justice issues and had even addressed Vice-President Mike Pence from the stage in New York just 10 days after the 2016 election.
"That we have not yet firmly spoken inaugural turth of Black Lives matter and denounced systematic racism and white supremacy to our official 'Hamilton' channels is a moral failure on our part," Miranda said in his social media video. "I take responsibility and apologize for my part in this moral failure...'Hamilton' doesn't exist without the black and crown artists who created and revolutionized the world...Literally, the idea of the show doesn't exist without the brilliant black and brown artists in our cast, crew and production team who breathe life into this story every time it's performed."
Both messages were posted on "Hamilton's" official social media along with the message, "We stand on the side of justice. Black Lives Matter. Take action now in the links below. #BlackLivesMatter." The messages provided links to Black Lives Matter, the NAACP and the Minnesota Freedom Fund.
The "Hamilton" touring company performed at Detroit's Fisher Theatre during the spring of 2019 and is slated to return during Broadway in Detroit's 2020-21 season, but dates have not yet been announced.
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