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The Blue & Gray Press | April 24, 2017

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Did the ‘Hamilton’ cast choose an appropriate venue to call out Pence?

Did the ‘Hamilton’ cast choose an appropriate venue to call out Pence?

By ANDREW ARENAS

On Nov. 18, 2016, Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended the Broadway Musical Hamilton in New York City. Upon entering the theatre, Pence was greeted with a mixture of cheers and boos from the audience. At the end of the show, Brandon Victor Dixon, who stars as Founding Father Aaron Burr, thanked the audience and Mr. Pence for attending. He also read aloud a statement directed towards Mr. Pence about diversity in America.

“We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us,” Dixon said.

The audience gave a resounding applause to Dixon’s statement. Using the stage as a platform, he encouraged the audience to get this message out there to as many people as possible.

The morning after, President-elect Trump posted a series of tweets denouncing the cast of Hamilton for “being very rude to Mike Pence.” Trump also demanded an apology from the cast and stated, “the theatre must always be a safe and special place.”

Talking with Chris Wallace on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ Vice President-elect Pence stated that he was not offended by the message, stressing that “Trump will be the president of all the people of the United States of America.” Mr. Pence did not ask for an apology, but raised the question of whether or not the stage was an appropriate venue to deliver that message.

On Nov. 21, 2016, Dixon appeared on ‘CBS This Morning’ satisfied that Pence stood and listened to his message. He stated that, “there’s nothing to apologize for” and encouraged Trump to see Hamilton for its homage to contributions made by immigrants.

Dixon delivered the message in the most civil way possible by asking the audience not to boo Pence. The message that was put forth was respectful and came from good people that want nothing more than unity for our country. Even if the venue is large, Dixon did have the right to speak on behalf of the Hamilton cast. We live in a country that allows us to speak our minds and put forth our own opinions. Will everyone agree with those opinions? Absolutely not, but we must listen and work with one in order to find common ground.

When Dixon was on CBS he said that any celebrity or political figure is welcome backstage to visit and talk with the cast. What would have been nice is an open invitation for Pence to come backstage and continue the conversation. Messages that are directed towards elected officials must always be thoughtful and respectful. I feel that the message of inclusion was respectful and was intended to be for all of us and not just one specific group.

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