You Need To Watch Hamilton On Disney+ Immediately, If Not Sooner

Welcome to “What’s Good,” a weekly column where we break down what’s soothing, distracting, or just plain good in the streaming world.
Photo: Courtesy of Disney+.
What’s Good? Hamilton on Disney+ 
Who It’s Good For: Literally every living human being on Earth. Can you tell I love Hamilton? Okay, I’m going to try to be unbiased. This movie is for anyone who likes musicals and historical fiction. And hip-hop and joy. And hot talented people of colour giving the performances of their lives. My bias is showing again. Hamilton is not perfect (its reverence of the U.S. founding fathers, glossing over of “debates” about slavery, and inaccuracies over where they each stood on abolition are absolutely problematic), but you can love something and still approach it with a critical lens. The Disney+ film of the Broadway production of Hamilton with almost all of its original cast is a remarkable feat in songwriting, musical composition, and storytelling. If you like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s other work (In The Heights, Moana) or blockbuster musicals (The Greatest Showman, Rent), you will love Hamilton. Plus, for the many people who could not get tickets to see it on Broadway in New York City, this is the next best thing.
How Good Is It? Again, there is no way I can answer this question objectively. I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack for the first time in 2016 and since the whole production is sung-through, I have known every word of this musical for years. I’m probably going to be corny and subtly drop lyrics into this post. I’ve seen it on stage twice (in Chicago and Toronto) and both times I was a blubbering mess. This musical has gotten me through some dark shit. Hercules Mulligan (played by Okieriete Onaodowan) shouting, “When you knock me down I get the fuck back up again!” in "Yorktown" (the number that also includes “Immigrants, we get the job done”) was my morning pick-me-up for weeks. Inspired by Miranda’s Alexander Hamilton, I “wrote my way out” of some hard times (I also write my way into a lot of mess, but that’s for another time) and channelling Angelica Schuyler (the inimitable Renée Elise Goldsberry) by singing “Satisfied” in the shower is my self-care. My point: HAMILTON IS VERY GOOD. 
For the uninitiated, Miranda’s Pulitzer winning musical is a hip-hop reimagining of Alexander Hamilton’s life (he was the first Secretary of the Treasury of the U.S.), featuring all the big players who established America as we know it (for better and mostly for worse), like Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs is a revelation), George Washington (Christopher Jackson can sang) and Aaron Burr (LESLIE ODOM JR.!!!). I cannot defend Hamilton and its historical inaccuracies or the fact that it celebrates white men who owned slaves, but it’s a musical where Thomas Jefferson is a Black man who battle raps. Obviously, it’s not supposed to be a straight biography. For me, Hamilton has always been about watching Black and brown people at the peak of their talents telling the story of an America that oppressed them — then and still does now —  in a way to protest the country’s history. Using hip-hop and performers of colour to reclaim that narrative is a fascinating choice, since American culture is now so heavily steeped in both. The point is that the founding fathers were racist horrible people and this is the America they created. Joke’s on them. “This is a story about America then, told by America now,” Miranda told The Atlantic in 2015.  
I know loving Hamilton as a Black woman who does not revere those early American politicians may be contradictory or hypocritical, but so is being a Black woman who loves hip-hop, a genre that has degraded women since its inception. Let’s normalize accepting valid critiques of things we love! And hey, if Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell can voice Black characters, George Washington can be a Black man who can hit notes that make you scrunch up your face and say, “Okay, George!” There are many moments like that in the Hamilton film. Even if you know every word or have seen it on stage multiple times, there is nothing like watching this original cast WORK, work! (said in my best Angelica voice). Since each of these cast members (especially my imaginary boo Anthony Ramos) are now legit stars, watching them on stage where it all started is like getting a peek at history in real time. It’s the Beychella of Broadway. We have Homecoming preserved to watch whenever we need it, and now we have Hamilton. Even when the world is turned upside down, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now. Okay, that wasn’t subtle at all.
Things that are also good:
The Good Fight on Amazon Prime. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to recommend this show, but yes, I am joining the chorus of TV critics who are in awe of Christine Baranski and Delroy Lindo in this perfect legal drama
• Chasing your Hamilton viewing by watching the cast serenade Barack Obama on one of his final days in office with “One Last Time”
• Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Fast Color, a movie about Black women with super powers and literal Black girl magic
• Absorbing every word of Toni Morisson: The Pieces I Am
Defunding the police

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