CULTURE & ARTS
02/09/2016 10:26 am ET

Actor Saul Williams Says Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Hamilton' Is 'Extraordinary'

"Lin-Manuel is a gift."

After building its buzz at the Public Theater, Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton" hit Broadway with a bang that hasn't let up since. The musical, which showcases a diverse group of actors as they retell the story of the United States' first Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton, has earned Miranda the acclaim of critics, popular audiences and peers alike.

Actor, rapper and poet Saul Williams raved about the "extraordinary" show and the creative brains behind the operation in a conversation with HuffPost Live.

"Lin-Manuel is a gift," he told host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. "I consider him a friend. Chris Jackson, who's in the play, was one of my co-stars in 'Holler if Ya Hear Me' on Broadway and it was him who introduced me to Lin-Manuel."

Williams, whose new album "MartyrLoserKing" tackles some of the dire political issues of today, said he witnessed one of the first iterations of the concept years ago.

"I saw him perform excerpts of Hamilton in 2009 when we were both invited to the White House … and I was blown away then by this play that he was still working on at the time," he said. "Someone just told me today that the bar scene in the new 'Star Wars,' that he composed the new music there. I'm blown away by that dude."

With productions like "Hamilton," "The Color Purple," and "Allegiance" all running simultaneously, Broadway has been lauded as entertainment's beacon of diversity this season. But Williams warned that the theatre hasn't always been so inclusive.

"[Diversity] lives in 'Hamilton,' but we need to be really careful because we've had issues on Broadway as well," he said.  

As he explained, Broadway has historically faced many of the same issues that reignited the #OscarsSoWhite debate over the Academy Award nominees. He also pointed to pictures like "The Gods of Egypt" for misrepresenting history and portraying a narrative that's "unaligned with the reality and the truths of ancient Egypt."

"The issues are the same across the board," he said. "Just like you can watch Eddie Murphy talking about the Academy Awards back in '88, you know what I'm saying? There's essentially this sense of obliviousness that comes with this lack of inclusiveness that's just absurd."

Watch the full HuffPost Live interview with Saul Williams here

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