Leslie Odom Jr. and the impact he has on our society

Meghan Gannon, Editor-in-Chief

Leslie Odom Jr. is an award-winning performer who is best known for his originating role of Vice President Aaron Burr in the hit Broadway musical Hamilton 

Hamilton was written by actor and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda who creates projects with the intention of providing roles to people of color in a field that is typically dominated by those who are Caucasian. 

Odom is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University where he received his BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts), and launched his career as not only an actor, but also a recording artist.  

Hamilton: An American Musical not only won Odom his Tony and Grammy awards, but also gave him a greater platform to advocate, speak, and stand for important world issues such as racism and give him an influence on elections.  

Nearly four years after his time in Hamilton, the musical used social media to raise awareness and funds to support the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice causes through a program they called “Ham 4 Progress”. 

“Ham 4 Progress” uses social platforms and influence to provide their fans and their community with ways to gain knowledge on issues occurring in the world, and outlets to register to vote and learn more about legislative acts such as The John Lewis Voting Rights Act and The Freedom to Vote Act. As an incentive for donating to the campaign, members of the original cast offered video calls and conversations with them that went on a first come first served basis.  

In 2020, Odom earned himself two Oscar nominations in the categories of Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Song for his portrayal of singer Sam Cooke in the film One Night in Miami. The film focuses on Cooke, as well as other historical figures such as Malcolm X.  

Odom continues to raise awareness through his work in stage, music, and film. Odom is set to feature in the upcoming film, Knives Out 2