‘We don’t need pageantry, we need policy:’ A Hamilton performance at Jan 6th memorial had people cringing hard

‘We don’t need pageantry, we need policy:’ A Hamilton performance at Jan 6th memorial had people cringing hard

The one year anniversary of the 6th January riot at the U.S. Capitol was marked with a prayer vigil, a moment of silence, and, er, a performance from the cast of Hamilton.

Thursday marked a year since a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on the day that Joe Biden’s presidential win was set to be certified.

Speaking on the first anniversary, house speaker Nancy Pelosi said that “our democracy was on the brink of catastrophe”, but “democracy won that night”.

But amid the solemnity, touching moments, and reflection on the state of the nation - Pelosi announced a surprising addition to the memorial.

Introducing Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda as “one of the great creative talents of our time”, she went on to quote Dear Theodosia, a song from the play, saying: “We’ll make it right for you. If we lay a strong enough foundation, we will pass it on to you, and we will give the world to you.”

Pointing to a screen behind her, Miranda appeared on-screen in the chamber where he talked about his hope for a fairer nation.

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He said: “We should never take our rights and liberties for granted, and we must remain committed to finding a way forward together.”

“That’s what I wrote about in the song Dear Theodosia from Hamilton,” he added.

The cast then appeared on-screen and performed the song.

Although it granted a moment of lightness to the event, we can’t help but admit it was maybe, just maybe, a wee bit cringe-inducing.

The performance drew comparisons to the infamous Imagine cover made by celebrities at the start of the pandemic while others highlighted that perhaps what America needs isn’t the cast of Hamilton crooning - rather, access to healthcare would be great, please and thank you.

Black Lives Matter also spoke out, tweeting: “We don’t need pageantry, we need policy.”

A screenshot of a 2016 headline from satirical site The Onion poking fun at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) attempting to reconnect with the working-class via Hamilton also resurfaced:

Either way, people made their feelings abundantly clear:

After the performance, Pelosi said: “Somehow the arts have a way of saying things in a way that connects, that we cannot do any other way.

“That’s why I thought it was really important for us to have the arts lead us in this discussion.”

It certainly connected people, but perhaps not in the way Pelosi intended.

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