*First of all* I just want to point out how cool it was that the original Schuyler Sisters got to sing at the Super Bowl!!! Watch them here, if you missed it. They were amazing. (I have the biggest fan crush on Jasmine Cephas Jones.)
Hello Hamiltrash fans, in honor of all the crap that is going on in America right now, I have decided we are going to look at “Yorktown” today. Mainly because of this right here:
So there. You know exactly who I am talking to.
So the war is coming to a close, and here we see our heroes about to engage in the Battle of Yorktown and Hamilton has been given command for the first time. Lafayette and Hamilton finally meet up again after being apart for a bit and have the iconic line, “Immigrants: we get the job done.” (Seriously one of the best lines in the entire show.) The rest of the song is essentially just Hamilton singing about combat and what’s going on and how his friends are all “scattered to the winds.” And then the British surrender, the Americans win, and the war is over for good.
It’s safe to say that “Yorktown” is one of the most iconic numbers in the show. It’s a very high-intensity song with one of the most complicated choreography, and they get to dance with bayonets and it’s so cool!!! They didn’t have the bayonets when they did the performance at the Tony’s, but it was still really cool. (Watch the Tony’s performance here.)
However, I don’t really have much more to say about the song– in my opinion, it’s more about what the song stands for.
FIRST OF ALL, Hamilton is a play about revolution and sticking it to the government. If you have a problem with that, then this is not the show for you. (I have sooooooo many opinions about the Mike Pence thing and all the clowns that said they were boycotting the show because of it.) SECOND OF ALL, and this is more included in the subtext, it’s a play about inclusion. All of the founding fathers are played by minority actors and the Schuyler Sisters are all about feminism.
For those of you who don’t know, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s father immigrated from Puerto Rico to the United States, so the “immigrants” line is more than just a snappy little phrase– it’s completely freaking true and carries a lot of meaning. Lin-Manuel Miranda has stated in interviews that his vision for Hamilton was to tell the story of America’s past with America’s present. In other words, we no longer (should) have a bunch of stuffy white guys making all the rules. This serves as a reminder that America is *supposed* to be celebrating differences. And we don’t have time for your racist nonsense. We don’t need to cast every founding father as a white guy just because they were all historically white, nor should we. If you listen to the cast album, each singer has more talent in their pinky fingers than the rest of us will ever have in our entire bodies for the rest of our lives. THIS. IS. A. PLAY. ABOUT. DIVERSITY. Not everything is for white people, but they still let white people be in the show. Many ensemble members (many of whom hold understudy roles) are white. King George has always been played by a white guy, to my knowledge thus far. And the roles for women (The Schuyler Sisters + Maria Reynolds) are really good roles. They have some amazing songs and Lin-Manuel Miranda says that while he prefers the founding fathers to all be played by minority actors, he is totally fine with women also playing the founding fathers, which I think is just amazing.
I think as writers, we need to remember that representation does matter. There is a thing known as “white assumption” in literature where if you do not specify that your character is a different race, many people will just assume that the character is white. And that really sucks! There are so many more stories that need to be told– America is a cultural melting pot and there are so many different ethnicities and backgrounds to write about. This is why we should all make diversity an important factor in our stories. We need to tell the stories that aren’t already being told. Because God knows if we don’t, then *some* people will be content to wash them out of existence. So tell the stories that need to be told, and maybe someday, you too can turn the world upside down. (Next week we will be talking about why queer representation matters!)