creator issues musical riposte to immigration debate
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[June 29, 2017]
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -
"Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on Wednesday
released what he called a "musical counterweight" to the
U.S. political debate on immigration, inspired by one of
the best-known lines from his award-winning, racially
diverse Broadway musical.
The video "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)"
portrays refugees and immigrants from around the world in camps,
garment sweatshops, fruit-picking fields and crowded trains. It
is accompanied by a new song, set to rap lyrics, about their
struggles, setbacks and contributions to society.
The line "Immigrants, we get the job done" brings rousing
applause on Broadway, where "Hamilton" has been playing to
sold-out audiences for two years. The hip-hop infused musical
uses a racially diverse cast that includes African-American and
Latino actors to tell the story of how penniless immigrant
Alexander Hamilton rose to become the right hand man of General
Miranda, a Pulitzer Prize and Tony award winner of Puerto Rican
descent, said the video was intended as a riposte to a crackdown
on illegal immigrants by President Donald Trump's administration
and his bid to ban travel to the United States by people from
six predominantly Muslim states.
"This election cycle has brought xenophobia and vilification of
immigrants back to the forefront of US politics. This is a
musical counterweight," Miranda wrote in a commentary on the
music community website Genius.com.
The video begins with scenes of immigrants huddled around a
radio where a speaker is saying, "It's really astonishing that
in a country founded by immigrants, immigrant has somehow become
a bad word."
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The rappers, including British "Rogue One" actor Riz Ahmed, sing
verses in English and Spanish, with a chorus of "Look how far I
come, Immigrants, we get the job done."
"Hamilton" won 11 Tony awards in 2016 and has productions already or
about to open in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and London.
The Broadway cast caused a stir when it addressed newly elected U.S.
Vice President Mike Pence from the stage when he attended a
performance days after the November 2016 election, expressing alarm
over the possible loss of protection of diversity rights.
Pence said he was not offended, but Trump called the cast "very
rude" and deemed the show "highly overrated."
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Richard Chang)
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