Christopher Jackson Leaves 'Hamilton' With A Poignant, Presidential Message For The Country
It seems that playing the nation's first and perhaps most legendary president to date lends a certain degree of wisdom to the person embodying him. Case in point, Christopher Jackson is leaving Hamilton, in which he played George Washington in the smash hit Broadway musical, but he isn't departing the stage without some presidential advice. The actor spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the recent election, and you're definitely going to want to hear what Jackson had to say, especially if you were disappointed by who was elected as president this week.
As EW pointed out in the interview, the Tony Award-winning Hamilton "has been incredible resonant in today’s political climate." To which Jackson agreed, saying, "Our show is at its best, I think, when it is holding up a mirror to what’s happening to the shifting focal points of the conversation." EW didn't hesitate to ask the man who played a fictional version of the first president for his thoughts on how the 2016 election turned out. Rather than plead the fifth or take a neutral approach, Jackson got candid and still managed to be diplomatic yet real about the whole thing.
...But it’s so far beyond a partisan issue. The things I think people are the most concerned about right now is they’re fearing for their safety. They’re fearful about the impression that the bad behavior — hurtful, horrible, the worst of us — represented from that campaign, on both sides, was rewarded. I know that’s the thing my 7-year-old daughter is the most afraid of, it’s the thing that I’m most afraid of. But to me the work that needed to be done before Nov. 8 still needs to be done...
Jackson continued, elaborating on that sentiment with a more hopeful message, saying,
Our government has seen the best of us and the worst of us from the very beginning, and I think that our show speaks to that. But I’m motivated right now. I’m motivated not out of spite, but out of a need to fill what I’m feeling with positive action. And I don’t mean to be Pollyannaish about it, but the fight for women’s equality has spanned quite a long time. That didn’t die when Hillary Clinton wasn’t elected president. The fight for civil rights did not end when Donald Trump was elected president. We’ve got work to do. And so any rage or disappointment or sadness that I’m feeling, I’m just trying to pour that into as many positive and meaningful interactions that I can with my neighbor. And I think once the shock of this very present moment wears off, my hope is that everyone will get as involved as and be as invested emotionally and intellectually with engaging themselves in the process.
In fact, hope was his main message. And it shows that even though he just plays a president on stage, he knows how to inspire and incite real change with his words, like any true leader does. EW made note of those who were disheartened by Donald Trump becoming president, but also the people who have asked, "what can we do now, how can we help, how do we move forward."
Jackson responded to the statement by saying:
Hope didn’t die on Nov. 9— it got a huge shot in the arm. My hope didn’t die, I’m not about to give up on this. I’m not about to just be mad and cower and withdraw. If anything, I want to be more engaged. And I’ve had to teach my daughter, just because who we wanted to win didn’t win, that’s not an excuse to just not care. Apathy is the biggest enemy right now, and it’s a big problem for us because as a culture we are very quite to swipe to the next thing as opposed to, stay with it, let it hurt, and then resolve yourself to change it.
If anything, it's Jackson who took Lin-Manuel Miranda's Washington's words to heart. As the president tells Alexander Hamilton in the Hamilton song "One Last Time," "Pick up a pen, start writing, I wanna talk about what I have learned, the hard-won wisdom I have earned." Jackson undoubtedly learned a thing or two while playing President Washington, and his inspirational and galvanizing words hold all the more weight because of it.