Miku Binder Thomas Jefferson
|Date(s):||September 9 2017 – September 23 2017|
|Scope:||Modern College AU|
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ask-crammaster-ham was an Hamilton askblog that was active for a brief period in September 2017. The Tumblr blog created the infamous, widely-circulated character sheet known as "Miku Binder Thomas Jefferson", "weeaboo drug dealer Thomas Jefferson," or variations of other details such as the former drug dealer, former cocaine-addict, black, bisexual, transgender, furry Thomas Jefferson wearing a Hatsune Miku binder and "I met God. She's Black" shirt.
The premise of the blog was a Modern College Alternative Universe of the characters from the musical. "Crammaster Ham," refers to Alexander Hamilton, who in this AU is an overworked college student who is a master of cramming/last-minute studying. The blog was run by Umbrony (umbronydraws on Tumblr), a popular fanartist in Hamilton fandom who had also created animatics. Asks to the blog received responses in the form of art. Blog Description: "always tired, livin' that coffee life. features minor and major recurring characters, but mainly centered around the day-to-day to life of a. ham in a modern setting, a law major from King's College."
The character designs on the blog were based on the original Broadway cast members of Hamilton, as was custom in the fandom, and their characterization was significantly different from both the musical and real history, involving changes to the personalities, ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and more. The account quickly gained attention and criticism for its depictions of characters from a musical which was based on historical events. The backlash was so strong that the blog was active for less than a month in September 2017.
In particular, the blog's character sheets, which served as overviews introducing the AU versions of the characters, became widely circulated on the internet and mocked. The Hamilton musical had cast people of color to play historical figures who were white, and it was common practice within Hamilton fandom, like any fandom, to have different headcanons about characters' identities, and to diverge further in AUs. However, the backlash to ask-crammaster-ham came at a time of widespread controversy over the distinction, and lack thereof, between the canon of the musical and real world history/RPF.
The first character sheet, for Alexander Hamilton.
Second character sheet, for John Laurens.
Fourth character sheet, for Philip Hamilton.
ask-crammaster-ham Blog History
Umbrony posted art of their Modern College AU on their main account before creating the separate ask blog for the concept and had made other art imagining Hamilton characters with different gender identity and sexualities (and patterned binders). The first post, on September 9, 2017, was the character sheet for Alexander Hamilton, captioned "meet alexander hamildeadinside / ask him anything! more sheets coming soon." The sheet showcased the character's design and included facts a such as nationality, gender, sexuality, pronouns, college Major, and miscellaneous information about his life and relationships within this AU. Hamilton was introduced as an overworked, genderfluid, bisexual Law Major.
The blog's first response to a negative ask was a day later: "What the fuck was going through your head when you though it would be a good idea to make a historical figure gender fluid? Alexander Hamilton was cis! The Hamilton fandom is so toxic with LGBT garbage like this it makes me sick." The blog boosted responses that there were no issues with imagining different gender identities and disregarding canon in an AU, and that some were happy to see their own identity represented by the blog.
The next two character sheets, for John Laurens and Thomas Jefferson, were posted on September 11th. The description read, "here’s t̶h̶e̶ ̶c̶l̶o̶s̶e̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶f̶u̶r̶r̶i̶e̶s̶ 'hey man… can u bum me a cig' and 'the one uncle nobody invites to the family reunion but SOMEONE keeps telling him where it is anyways'." John Laurens was a homosexual, panromantic Music Theory Major, stoner, and the single father of a daughter, Frances, from his ex-wife, Martha. Frances and Martha are the names of the real John Laurens's daughter and ex-wife, who were not characters in the musical. Thomas Jefferson was a transgender, bisexual Art Education Major who was a furry, "OBSESSED with anime," a fan of K-Pop and J-Pop, and "John's former drug dealer..." He was drawn wearing a chest binder with a Hatsune Miku pattern print and a shirt that reads, "I MET GOD. SHE'S BLACK."
At some point in September, a character sheet for Philip Hamilton was posted on Umbrony's Instagram, @rockruffian, but does not appear to have been posted on ask-crammaster-ham.
Response to Backlash
The Jefferson and Laurens character sheets immediately received a negative response which the blog's owner found discouraging. On September 12, ask-crammaster-ham posted an official statement, response to discourse. The post included:
- response to accusations of "homosexual erasure" because John Laurens was homosexual and panromantic
- explanation of the blog's attempts to represent a diversity of identities and be inclusive:
i’m trying to be unique and give EVERYONE a representation. so naturally, you’re gonna see shit that usually isn’t talked about. but it’s real. and i’m gonna vocalize them on my ask blog. so things are gonna be different from what you usually see in other people’s aus/canon. alexander isn’t trans in canon, but we do it anyways, and that’s fine. so why can’t john have his usual sexual identity and something that would explain things/make so much sense as well? that’s just how i see it, and i’m not gonna force you to see things my way. i’m just gonna run things how i run things, because it’s m…y askblog.if anything, your behaviors are harmful, because you’re trying to force the entire lgbtq+ spectrum into a box of ‘EITHER YOU’RE GAY OR YOU’RE NOT’, and that’s just not accurate, and it’s just not right.
- reference/comparison to Lin Manuel Miranda's leaving Tumblr - "this is probably why lin left tumblr. he probably didn’t appreciate randos like you telling him how to run his play and write for his characters."
- prediction that everyone will leave Tumblr due to it being a community that will "relentlessly degrade you, your work, your thoughts, and your opinions"
- warning that anyone who tries to start discourse will be blocked
- statement that the askblog would continue to post
The blog continued to respond to asks that commended it for its diverse representation and encouraged them to ignore the hate. The blog-runner responded to an accusation of homophobia and anti-blackness by saying that they were gay and black. Hercules Mulligan was also introduced as a nonbinary character. Other Hamilton fans drew fanart (archived) of ask-crammaster-ham's character designs.
On September 15, 2019, blog-runner umbrony posted on their main Tumblr, pretty soon, the hamilton fandom is going to have little to no artists of color. and here’s why. The post expressed further unhappiness about the reaction to their art and contained screenshots of how the Thomas Jefferson character sheet had been spread on Instagram.
on instagram earlier, i got so much hate for drawing thomas jefferson in a modern setting, and, transgender. i turned off comments, figuring it’d solve the problem. someone dmd me, saying that i was romanticizing a man who owned slaves, even though he’s a fictional representation of a real person that’s been dead hundreds of years now. and it’s an au. lin himself has said that hamilton is a retelling of “america THEN” by “america NOW”, so it’s only right we get representation for everyone.
there’s literally TONS of trans versions of alexander hamilton and they get little to no hate. why is it whenever i do something I get torn a new one? i like to break the mold. and i got shit for making my modern au alexander genderfluid, too.
anyways, the people on instagram. i don’t actually blame this much on the fandom, but moreso on the sjws that sit on instagram and repeatedly refresh the hamilton hashtag and claim they aren’t sjws but they’re clearly sjws because that term has come to mean something negative and they sittin’ there actin’ negative as hell.
they tried to preach me on the history of oppression of black people by the characters from hamilton, and the best part is, when i told them i was black, they said “i’m sorry. i didn’t know”, and literally didn’t have a leg to stand on. they didn’t stop, though. they shifted gears quick as hell, and tried to attack me for making these characters “uwu” (which means queer, i guess), or whatever. they kept hampering on about the fact that he owned slaves, and that he was a horrible person. the real, DEAD thomas jefferson. they keep denying the existence of the character in the musical, even though that’s LITERALLY who’s pictured.i told them if they felt such guilt that they have to dig up the issue of slavery from 200 years ago– something that my people NEVER forget but we don’t hold as a card over the head of every fucking white person that we see– and they have so much concern for the condition of the black community among “oppressive whites!!1″, then they should volunteer in shelters and help my people, who are hungry, among other minorities, crying in the streets because we are still discriminated against, even today. instead of digging up issues of slavery that even blacks aren’t focused on anymore, because we’re dealing with PRESENT DAY bullshit, why don’t you contribute to the end of ALL racism by getting out of your house and ceasing attacks on people just trying to draw characters from something they love to have fun on the internet?
tl;dr: i’m sick of being attacked and ignored and not having my voice heard. i got white friends who draw this exact same shit and don’t get half the hate i do. it’s just nonstop and it’s killing my self esteem, my motivation, and even my love for this musical and lin and the amazing various casts’ beautiful, hard work. i’m done.
The blog reached 1,000 followers on September 23, 2017, but beyond responding to support, did not update after that date. Umbrony stopped drawing art for or interacting with Hamilton fandom, but continued to create other fanart.
ask-crammaster-ham was deleted sometime around early 2020.
In June 2020, Umbrony spoke out against the ACAB movement on Twitter. Their comments were received poorly, then attracted widespread mockery when people realized they were the creator of Miku Binder Thomas Jefferson. This led to a resurgence of attention around Umbrony's Hamilton art; Miku Binder Thomas Jefferson became more widely known and memed than it had before. Umbrony deleted all of their accounts.
Those who received the blog and its premise positively were those in Hamilton fandom who had already been participating in similar headcanons and AUs of the musical's characters. They are generally those who believe the canon of the musical can be almost fully separated from real history, and that enjoyment of the musical canon in no way romanticizes or minimizes issues in real-world history.
The blog received a few works of fanart based on the designs in the character sheets, which ask-crammaster-ham reblogged. However, some were later deleted by the OPs. Some, even while disagreeing with the premise of the headcanons for historical figures, note that the art is good, and they would see no problem with these character sheets if they were Original Characters.
Many also opposed the attacks against Umbrony, which were often personal and bigoted.
Supporters of Umbrony made posts detailing the harassment Umbrony had received:
- re: jay/umbronydraws, Sep 24 2017 (archived)
i’m sure most everyone who follows me and/or is active in the hamilton fandom is aware of what’s been happening to my good friend jay/umbronydraws during the last few weeks or so. with jay’s consent i’m here to explain the situation on his behalf since he wants absolutely no further part in the fandom or in this situation and honestly? I don’t blame him whatsoever.tl;dr congratulations, you harassed another queer artist of color to the point of considering suicide. both people outside of the fandom AND people within the fandom have been guilty of this. how many more times is this going to keep happening?caps (provided by jay) and explanations are below. content warnings for slurs & just. shit. many names have been left uncensored. (reblogs are ok & encouraged, we need people to know and understand what happened here so that we can work on making sure it doesn’t happen again.)
jay explains his headcanons and such further in the first link provided. you can find many more explanations in the reblogs of that post, too. multiple people of color coming forward with their thoughts and experiences.
but so few of these people pushing these awful posts are willing to listen. they don’t WANT to listen. they don’t want to hear that these trans and queer headcanons are based on the fictional, musical representations of the characters ONLY. they don’t want to hear about how many people have expressed how trans HCs and queer HCs have been comforting to them. they don’t want to hear about the deliberate casting of almost exclusively people of color in Hamilton’s cast, nor how active many cast members are in activist movements and social justice, or the charity work, or any of that. they haven’t bothered to research what the actors and actresses have said about their roles, about how they’ve personally dealt with reconciling the historical figures with this new, more diverse version they’ve been cast to play.
people are, instead, far more intent on getting across that Thomas Jefferson/Alexander Hamilton/George Washington Sucked, which we were ALL ALREADY AWARE OF….and were willing to bully and harass a black person who is VERY MUCH CURRENTLY ALIVE just to try and validate it. i have no words for how outlandish that is & i have no care for how you want to try justifying yourselves. if you still believe you’re vindicated after reading through all this, idk what to tell you. you’re mean. take a long, hard look at yourself.
the point of this post is to try and shed some light on what happened in the hopes that this sort of thing will happen less. to educate. maybe the next person in this fandom to get harassed like this WILL cross the line. we don’t know. we want to prevent that as much as we can, because no one, absolutely no one deserves to have to put up with this shit.i’m posting this with Jay’s permission b/c he has no interest in engaging in this, nor with the fandom, any further. buy hey, i hope that’s what you wanted, guys. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- what happened to jay/@umbronydraws, Sep 25 2017
Criticism, Spread, & Mockery
The character sheets from the blog were circulated far beyond Tumblr and the fandom, evidenced by the fact that the original posts on ask-crammaster-ham each have less than 2,000 notes, but reposts of the images on different sites have thousands of notes and responses.
Criticism was related to the widespread controversy over whether or not fans were properly separating the musical characters from their historical bases, whether or not separating them is truly possible, and if the fandom or the musical romanticized or minimized historical atrocities. The attitude of Hamilton fandom was often seen as delusional or harmful in how it ignored real history and the actions of real people.
Some criticism was also directed at the sexualities shown on the character sheet for using the split attraction model, which many consider to be a problematic way of viewing LGBTQ+ identities.
"weeaboo drug dealer Thomas Jefferson"
The most widely circulated image from the blog was Thomas Jefferson's character sheet. The image was memed and spread so widely that most who have seen it do not know its source or context. At times, people have been shocked to discover that there are more character sheets than just the Thomas Jefferson one.
- edits with real world portraits replacing the fanart
- Jefferson's character description replaced with "OWNED MORE THAN 500 SLAVES IN HIS LIFETIME
- edit of Mt. Rushmore
- edit of 2 dollar bill
The image is widely used to exemplify the cringe and excessiveness of Tumblr, Hamilton fans, Social Justice Warriors (although the artist themself blames SJWs for the hate they received), and/or fandom/internet culture in general.
Reddit Discussion: “I Met God. She’s Black” ... Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner. The artist has an entire collection of these with different historical figures, it’s more than a little weird on r/Cringetopia
Can we take a second to appreciate that somewhere, at sometime, some fuckwit decided they wanted to fetishize Thomas Jefferson by making him a transexual drug dealer weeaboo furry, despite Jefferson being a slave-owner who habitually fucked his slaves while also making sure they didn't have any rights even after being freed?
If there really are infinite universes, there is one where some fuckwit decided to fetishize Thomas Jefferson by making him a slave-owner who habitually fucked his slaves, despite the real Jefferson actually being a transexual drug dealer weeaboo furry.
I think all of [theirs] are based off the Hamilton lore instead of the actual president.
Still fucking shit, though.
Hamilton’s decent in all but goddamn the fans.
That's what I was thinking too. This might be one of those reimagining of a historical figure. If that's the context, it doesn't bother as much h as I previously thought of them glorifying Thomas Jefferson and that he loves anime and is trans.
Criticism of Hamilton Fandom
wasnt this the shit where OP pretended to be HIV+ so they could make one of the characters also HIV+ without being ~problematic~ in the eyes of the public???that isn't that artist but yeah that happened and was actually way worse than you think. They pretended to be a HIV+ asian child trafficking survivor when they were a white girl from a gated community and may have scammed people out of their money
Many posts that criticize Hamilton fandom and vaguely reference "fanart of genderfluid hamilton" and "bisexual uwu thomas jefferson" can be interpreted as being about ask-crammaster-ham's art or about trends in the fandom – ask-crammaster-ham is far from the only account to post such content.
the hamilton fandom isnt the bad thing about hamilton. hamilton itself is the worst thing about hamilton. its a play that romanticizes slave owners and racists and casts them as the same race as the people they oppressed. why is it so hard to understand. people who have genderfluid mixed bipolar alexander hamilton headcanons arent the only problem. if you actively consume hamilton content and/or produce it YOU are no better.
Never Feel Ashamed
For headcanoning a canonically cisgender character as trans. For headcanoning a canonically nerotypical character with autism or mental illness. For headcanoning a canonically straight character as any sexuality. For headcanoning a canonically white character as any race. Representation is important, even if it wasn’t the creator’s original intent.[...]#trans alexander hamilton #gay john laurens[...]
- #maria-reynold (archived) on ask-crammaster-ham; see second post by umbrony, Sep 7 2017. reblogged by ask-crammaster-ham Sep 9 2017
- hi this is my modern philip hamilton they’re genderfluid and they have a custom binder like their dad and are accident prone hi by umbronydraws, 18 AUG 2017
- asked: asked: (archive), Sep 10 2017
- baifdvak asked:[Dead link] "Hey last ask, what the fuck was going through your head where you thought it would be okay to disrespect gender identity? Yes, Alexander doesn't have to be genderfluid, but he doesn't HAVE to be cis either. AU (alternate universe) is a type or form of in which canonical facts of setting or characterization in the universe being explored or written about are deliberately changed. Direct definition. Keep your opinions to yourself. They are meant to be shared respectfully, not shoved thoughtlessly.", Sep 11 2017
- borzboy asked: are you having fun making slave owners into "quirky relatable characters" while beign full on antiblack and homophobic, Sep 22 2017
- Seeing how you're all for equal representation, and me being so myself, I wanted to ask if any the characters in this au are nonbinary?, Sep 14 2017
- ALSO THANK YOU GUYS SM FOR 1000 FOLLOWERS!!!!, Sep 23rd 2017
- #art for me on ask-crammaster-ham
- 24 Mar 2019 by flarecafe: Therapist: Weeaboo drug dealer Thomas Jefferson isn't real, he can't hurt you. Weaboo drug dealer Thomas Jefferson:
- Posted byu/suspicious_fedora, 2019
- Jul 18, 2018
- example: Character sheets for the squad! by ask-the-poly-rev-squad, 2017-09-24: another ask blog featured LBGT modern AU Hamilton characters
- example: post by queerheadcanonoftheday, Jan 18th 2017: "Today’s Queer Headcanon of the Day is: Alexander Hamilton is a bisexual trans man. Hercules Mulligan is biromantic and asexual. Lafayette is pansexual and genderfluid. John Laurens is gay. They are all in a queerplatonic relationship, and Hamilton and Laurens are dating."
- 2017-09-26 by unequal
- Never Feel Ashamed by sky-fire-forever, Jan 9th 2018