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  • Norman Young

New All-Black Hiphop Musical Coming to Broadway: 'Lee'

yes, this is satire

It's hard to believe it has been 5 years since "Hamilton" made box-office history exploring the life and times of Alexander Hamilton in a bold, fresh new way. Featuring a mostly-black cast singing mostly-black hiphop music, "Hamilton" became an instant success, launching to the top of the charts and generating enough revenue to become the 7th-highest-grossing musical in American history. Now, other theatre groups are following the example, hoping to achieve success by depicting various other aspects of American history from the new, hip perspective.

The most daring example is "Lee," a musical-biography of the life of Virginian General Robert E. Lee, an American figure most famous for his noble surrender in front of the Appomattox Court House. But, the proposal for this new musical immediately sparked controversy. Several critics worry that, while audiences proved willing—even eager—to overlook Alexander Hamilton's troubling history of slave-transactions, they might not be similarly willing to extend grace to other American historical figures—especially ones from the South.