Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan Discuss Claims That ‘Hamilton’ Glorifies Slave Owners: ‘All These People Are Flawed’

Daveed Diggs and Okieriete Onaodowan spoke about “Hamilton”, “Snowpiercer”, and more during a Vulture Instagram Live Tuesday.

The pair, who star as Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson and Hercules Mulligan / James Madison respectively in the hit Broadway show, were asked about the production being accused by some of glorifying slave-owning historical figures.

“Hamilton” tells the story of Alexander Hamilton and his work with the Founding Fathers of the United States, many of whom owned slaves.

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Diggs shared, “I think it’s hopefully a gateway to history. What I think ‘Hamilton’ does a pretty good job of is presenting all of these people as flawed, so not as perfect humans. It makes some of them charismatic, some of them not charismatic. But all of them are particularly flawed.”

The actor continued, “Hamilton himself, even though he doesn’t get into his association with the slave trade, he is a womanizer in the show. He’s incredibly vain, he’s partially responsible for his son’s death. He’s not without flaw.

“Who knows? Maybe we’re at a time now where that’s not good enough, but to me what the show is implying is that there are words and actions of people that are still instructive for us and even the things we don’t agree with are also instructive for us.”

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He concluded, “I appreciate everybody questioning it and I think we should continue to do that and hold our creators accountable.”

Diggs also revealed he’d thought about what parts of the story Lin-Manuel Miranda and the white crew members were able to “comment on in any grounded way” and how they dealt with that.

Diggs then discussed “Snowpiercer”, commenting on the class issue in the series: “In some ways class is over a lot of race issues, race issues come up because they happened to cast a Black person as the lead.”

See more in the clip above.

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