People Wonder Why Alexander Hamilton Wasn’t White in the 'Hamilton' Grammys Performance

People Wonder Why Alexander Hamilton Wasn’t White in the 'Hamilton' Grammys Performance
Source: AP
Source: AP

During Monday's Grammy Awards telecast, audiences went inside the Richard Rodgers Theatre to get a glimpse of the smash Broadway musical Hamilton, which combines American history with one of America's most well-known original musical genres — hip-hop. 

The performance was a huge success and showed the world why Hamilton is a masterpiece. Just one problem: people were confused because Alexander Hamilton, played by the show's writer and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, was not white. 

Read more: Grammys' Decision Not to Honor Natalie Cole Speaks Volumes About Women of Color in Music

Google searches for Hamilton peaked Monday night during Hamilton's Grammys win, as well. 

Those who Googled may have been surprised to find out the truth, and the real irony of the entire situation: Hamilton probably was not white. 

For those who wonder about America's multiracial society, look no further than Hamilton's mother, who was mixed race. Earlier in American history, constructions of race usually followed a "one-drop rule," meaning even one drop of black blood often categorized someone as black. (There were even names depending on how much black blood you had — quadroons were one-quarter black and octoroons were one-eighth black.) 

Hamilton was also born in the British West Indies on the small island of Nevis, where the slave population was higher than the rest of the population. That makes Hamilton, the architect of many of America's finest institutions, an immigrant.

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Mathew Rodriguez

Mathew Rodriguez is a Staff Writer at Mic. He is a queer Latino New Yorker who enjoys female rappers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Flannery O'Connor. He is a former editor at TheBody.com and he is working on a memoir.

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