That phrase kept coming back to me last December as I walked the streets of New York City. My husband and I had just seen Hamilton for the first time and I was stunned by the beauty of it all.
I had heard that phrase for the first time at an InSpero event in Birmingham. I knew the phase was true but somehow now, after seeing Hamilton, it took on a much deeper meaning.
After returning to Birmingham, I found myself revisiting my time in New York. Seeing Hamilton had felt somehow holy. However, within a few short months Birmingham, along with the rest of the country, was put on lockdown due to Covid. My experience was lost in the chaos until we were given an unexpected gift. Lin-Manuel Miranda released the original Broadway cast performance of Hamilton on Disney+ so others could enjoy it in their homes during a very difficult time in our country. My family, along with 2.7 million others, tuned in.
As the show started, I watched all of my five kids take it in. I was especially drawn to the response of my little boy with beautiful brown skin and black curls. I witnessed him grinning ear to ear as he sang along—enthralled by the music and voices of these amazing actors who looked like him.
Lin-Manuel purposefully created Hamilton in a way which included some very hard truths of our country’s history. He did so by pushing back the darkness. He used the voices of minorities who had been silenced and showed us the beauty of diversity. He also showed the frailties and sins of our forefathers but in a way that highlighted repentance and forgiveness. He didn’t throw out the good but showed how we could be better. For just a few hours the audience was one in mind and one in spirit.
Hamilton and its impact reminds me of the work of InSpero. Their desire to enter in and tell the story of Birmingham is good. When attending an InSpero event one is reminded of truth. The work of InSpero reminds our city that all voices are needed and all voices are welcome at the table. The work of the creative community is holy because it pushes back the dark and ushers in redemption. They have much work to do in our city. Why? Because beauty matters.
Melissa Loudon and her husband, Bobby, and their five children, live in Birmingham. She is a warrior for justice, a writer of truth, and a good friend to InSpero.
We were stirred by Jonathan's discussion of territories vs. hierarchies as it relates to artists and writers. As a writer himself, he encourages creators to push past the tendency to compare and tend to their own journeys as creators.