Most Shared

Here's why 'Hamilton' star Leslie Odom isn't getting offered new roles.

Aaron Burr, himself, has hope for the future of theater.

Here's why 'Hamilton' star Leslie Odom isn't getting offered new roles.

Unless you've been living under an actual, literal rock this past year, you've probably heard of the hit Broadway show "Hamilton."

Actor and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda performs a number from "Hamilton" during the 2016 Grammys. Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images.


The show, centered on the life of U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton, won both a Grammy and a Pulitzer and racked up a record 16 Tony nominations. In short, it's a pretty big deal and the hottest ticket on all of Broadway.

Aside from being just absolutely fantastic, the show's gotten some major attention and praise for the majorly diverse cast.

Yes, the show is set in the 18th century. No, that wasn't a barrier. In fact, it was a refreshing reimagining of the life and times of the founding fathers.

Leslie Odom, Jr., who plays Aaron Burr in the production, recently talked about diversity during a Hollywood Reporter roundtable discussion.

One of the first things brought up was the idea that because of the success of shows like "Hamilton," some of the racial barriers to Broadway have been torn down. Odom, however, isn't so sure.

GIFs via Hollywood Reporter/YouTube.

And he's got a great point. In 2014-2015, about 80% of roles on Broadway went to white actors, making them disproportionately overrepresented when compared to the general population.

Why doesn't "Hamilton" change everything? Because outside of it, there just aren't a whole lot of roles for people of color on Broadway.

Odom has had just about as wonderful a season as is humanly possible, and yet people aren't exactly knocking his door down to lock him into his next role. Were he a white actor, he explains, he could come to expect a few offers per week.

Sadly, there just aren't many roles written for people of color, making it not so much an issue of racial bias in casting, but one of overall underrepresentation across the board.

Odom isn't giving up hope, however. He believes "Hamilton" will inspire a more diverse slate of writers to put together a more varied set of roles in years to come.

Maybe somewhere there's a kid jotting down the first notes of what will one day become the next "Hamilton," and there's no telling what the story will be. If anything, "Hamilton," a musical written by and starring a man of Puerto Rican descent surrounded by an anachronistically diverse cast, proves that these sorts of reimaginings are not just possible, but also profitable.

As mentioned during the roundtable, people have a tendency to write what they know.

When it's not just actors, but the writers, directors, and producers of shows who share a relatively homogenous upbringing, that only serves to reinforce the status quo.

Hopefully, "Hamilton" will open up the eyes of decision makers, influencing them to take a chance on more diverse ideas and artists.

That's how you guarantee a healthy, diverse future. That's how you change the status quo. That's how you find "Hamilton"-like success both inside and out of the theater.

You can watch the roundtable discussion featuring Leslie Odom, Jr., below:

Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pixabay

Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

Keep Reading Show less