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Lin-Manuel Miranda Talks Controversy With Hamilton And In The Heights Work: ‘It’s Not Cancellation’

Lin-Manuel Miranda on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
(Image credit: NBC)

Being canceled online has become part of the course for many celebrities. And Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is a star who has engaged in online discourse. Critics have made it no secret about their disapproval of the award-winning musical and its predecessor In the Heights. Both musicals have come under fire for differing reasons. The controversies threw Miranda off, but he didn’t revolt against the backlash like other stars. The Tick, Tick… Boom! director reflected on the issues surrounding his two signature musicals.

The controversy involving Miranda’s works has been simmering for months. Viewers took issue with the slave narrative associated with Hamilton upon its Disney+ release. Months ago, the In the Heights film adaptation and Lin-Manuel Miranda faced colorism allegations over its casting. Outside of making an online statement, Miranda has remained quite silent until now. The Vivo star was honest with The New Yorker about facing backlash after being an underdog for so long.

Once something has success, you’re not the underdog trying to make it happen anymore. You have to graduate past the mind-set of, like, It’s a miracle I got something on the stage. Because now that is expected of me. 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 cancellation. That’s having opinions. So, I try to take it in that spirit.

Lin-Manuel Miranda put out the same energy for other creators’ works, so he understood the mentality. He knew it’s just viewers expressing their opinions and notifying him of his blind spots. Sensibilities and perspectives have changed since Miranda created those works more than a decade ago. As a Broadway savant, the Hamilton star opened up about taking those criticisms into his next project.

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. Certainly, I have learned lessons from the reception of my work, good, bad, and indifferent. You try to take all of it, and whatever sticks to your gut is what you bring with you to your next project.

Unlike some stars, the Tick, Tick… Boom! director decided to use others’ opinions as creative fuel rather than revolt against them. Accountability and growth were the paths Lin-Manuel Miranda chose to travel instead of hatred. He seemingly saw those moments as learning lessons for future works.

Given his theatre prowess, these controversies will birth a new work from Lin-Manuel Miranda. While fans wait to see Miranda’s next musical theatre masterpiece, moviegoers can see more of his work with Tick, Tick… Boom! currently streaming on Netflix with Encanto arriving in theaters on Nov. 24.

Hamilton is currently streaming on Disney+. Viewers can catch In the Heights on HBO Max.

Adreon Patterson

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).