(NYTimes) - American flags. References to border security. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents dragging away immigrants in the thick of night.
A music video released on Wednesday for Immigrants (We Get The Job Done), a song off "Hamilton Mixtape, is replete with stark political imagery and not-so subtle messaging targeting President Donald Trump's rhetoric on immigration.
Hamilton Mixtape is an album of covers sung by mainstream artists including Alicia Keys and Usher, inspired by the Broadway musical-turned-cultural phenomenon Hamilton and released shortly after the presidential election in 2016. The song Immigrants, performed by K'naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC (known to film audiences as Riz Ahmed) and Residente, is the first from the album to spur a music video.
The video starts with a number of somber train passengers, seemingly immigrants, listening to the radio.
"It gets into this whole issue of border security," a commentator says. "Who is going to say that the borders are secure?"
"It's really astonishing that in a country founded by immigrants, 'immigrant' has somehow become a bad word," the commentator adds, setting the tone for the video.
It was directed by Tomas Whitmore and executive produced by Robert Rodriguez and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton.
The video, which lasts more than six minutes, morphs to immigrants stitching American flags under the main refrain of the song and Snow Tha Product rapping in front of an American flag. There are shots of workers picking fruit in fields, Riz MC rapping his verse on a barely-lit New York City subway car and, eventually, immigrants being dragged away in the dead of night by border patrol agents.
Hamilton is no stranger to politics. Then president Barack Obama was an avowed fan of the show and invited the cast to perform at the White House after seeing the musical multiple times, one of them at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. After the election, Hamilton found itself the target of Mr Trump's ire. In late November, Mr Mike Pence, then vice president-elect, attended a performance and found himself being directly addressed by the cast during a curtain call after drawing jeers from the crowd.
Standing on the stage, Brandon Victor Dixon, who played Aaron Burr, said to a departing Mr Pence, "We truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us."
Mr Trump demanded an apology, saying the cast had been "very rude" toward Mr Pence and that the theatre "must always be a safe and special place".