The “Hamilton” actor who addressed Mike Pence from the stage shortly after the presidential election said Saturday he expects politics to play a role in the acceptance speeches of this year’s Oscar winners.
Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr in the award-winning Broadway musical, made headlines in November when he read a message to Pence, then the vice president-elect, during a curtain call after learning the politician was in the audience.
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“We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us, all of us,” Dixon said at the time.
His speech angered Donald Trump, who tweeted later that “the cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man” and demanded an apology from Dixon, a request the actor refused.
Dixon told CNN’s Michael Smerconish on Saturday that he had no regrets about what he did.
“It’s important to seize any opportunity one has to speak to their elected representatives, no matter the situation,” he said.
And, after an awards season marked by politics in acceptance speeches, Dixon said he expected more commentary during Sunday’s Oscar ceremonies.
“I anticipate we’ll see more of the trend that has been building in Hollywood and I, for one, am very happy about it,” the actor said.
“It’s imperative that anybody who has a platform, anybody who has a voice right now, that they stand up and speak their mind, particularly about a lot of issues that are effecting people who do not have a voice or platform,” he said.
“I hope they do take their opportunity, and I look forward to hearing it and seeing it.”
Asked by Smerconish about whether stars should speak out on issues, Dixon insisted that political speeches by celebrities were effective.
“I know a lot of people say, ‘You’re an athlete or actor … and you shouldn’t speak up.’ I think that makes no sense. No matter who you are, no matter what you do in the country, you’re a part of our democracy, and if you have a voice, you need to use it,” he insisted.
“We need to encourage people to speak up, to speak out because the more people who participate in our democracy, the more our democracy grows.”
But Dixon said he encouraged an optimistic outlook.
“Make sure that whatever you say, that you lead with positivity, that you lead with love, so that you can continue to invite people into the conversation,” he said, adding that it was important not to “demonize the opposition.”
“In our country we get into this process of winning and losing,” Dixon said.
“I think that it’s important to make criticisms of the government as a whole and criticisms of the policies, but to do so in a way that you can invite the individuals who maybe were on the opposition before, or who voted for somebody whom you are in disagreement with … that you open the door for a conversation with those people.”