Lin-Manuel Miranda is no stranger to controversy. The creator of Hamilton has faced steep criticism from those that are major proponents in the circle of cancel culture. Mainly because Hamilton has allegedly placed the subject of slavery throughout the early Americas on the backburner of its plot. Rather than push back against the actual canceling that the online community can cause, Lin-Manuel Miranda has used this criticism to transcend his own cancellation. Canceled celebrities can often combat the idea of their own comments or situations, which in turn makes matters much worse. Miranda has found a stronger way to take accountability for his actions, which is what this is all about. Right?
Lin-Manuel Miranda was recently interviewed by The New Yorker in regards to the cancel culture that he is dealing with. Being considered an underdog in the industry to now being heavily criticized, he has taken the high road when it comes to how he seems to feel about the comments toward Hamilton and In The Heights. Miranda says, “And people go, ‘Yeah, but what about this? And what about this?’ And that’s fair! I do that with art I find lacking. It’s not a cancellation. That’s having opinions. So, I try to take it in that spirit.” He goes on to explain that he doesn’t just brush those comments off. Instead, he sees which ones rise up and stick with him, and carries that into his next project.
The point that Lin-Manuel Miranda is potentially making is that people will always have an opinion about any given subject or art. Understanding that aspect is the difference between those who take cancel culture comments to heart and those who may potentially learn from them. Miranda also says that creators must “graduate” past this thought process. Civil discourse matters greatly in this world.
Digging further into the interview, Lin-Manuel Miranda comments on how he plans to attack his next project after essentially remaining silent on his criticism. Miranda makes a great analogy when referring to how this cancel culture operates. He continues, “The challenge I find myself in is, how do I stay hungry? How do I still feel like I have something to say and not worry about what is not in the frame? I’m just trying to build the frame in the first place.”
Staying hungry as a creator when it seems like everyone is down on your art is an important aspect to consider. If the consensus is that whatever you create will be criticized it would drive many away from wanting to create again. Lin-Manuel Miranda has found a way to float above remaining down on himself. He also stated that he is attempting to create the frame for what is accepted. This is smart when considering that most don’t know what is accepted or not accepted when it comes to cancel culture. Listening to criticism and adapting to it or learning from it allows new perspectives to be created.
Although Lin-Manuel Miranda has seen the ugly side of being criticized, he also takes the lesson of listening to your audience as a way to grow as a creator. Trial and error is a part of everyone’s life and even though Hamilton and In The Heights were written some ten years ago, it’s never too late to learn about ways they don’t work in our current sociopolitical landscape.