Lin-Manuel Miranda is an actor, composer, rapper, and writer born in New York city to Puerto Rican parents. In 2002, he started working and participated on the off-Broadway musical In The Heights which later in 2008 actually went on Broadway until 2011. This was such a success that Lin-Manuel's performance earned him a nomination for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 2008.
After In The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda worked on various other projects such as composing and writing music as well as appearing in other musicals and TV shows. During this time, he read a biography of Alexander Hamilton and started writing the lyrics to what one day would be the famous Broadway musical Hamilton. Since its off-Broadway premiere in January 2015, this musical has won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, eight Drama Desk Awards, and has set the record by having 16 Tony Award nominations and winning 11 of those Tony Awards this past weekend. Clearly, Lin-Manuel Miranda has been very successful on and off the stage.
I remember last semester my friend and I were on a 3-hour road trip to visit a friend's house and when we started the trip he asked if I had heard about the play Hamilton. I had a faint memory of Alexander Hamilton from US History class in high school, but no idea about the play. During the ride we listened to the entire album on Spotify and I was blown away! The creativity, style, and passion in each song was amazing!
It's clear that he has been an important figure in the world of theater, but not many people know that Lin-Manuel Miranda has also been an important figure in advocating for the financial situation of Puerto Rico. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a much needed voice in this time of crisis; in a time where Puerto Rico is in dire need of help from the United States government, he has been an advocate for us in a unique way.
Many of us in Puerto Rico can relate to the words he wrote in a 2015 article saying, "What can I say to persuade elected officials and policy makers to act? What influence do I have to change the minds and hearts of those in Congress to put aside their differences and deal with the crisis confronting 3.5 million American citizens in the Caribbean?" And that's the question: What can we do?
Lin-Manuel has since decided that he is going to use his voice and skills to help Puerto Rico. On March 2016 he stood before Congress pleading for them to help Puerto Rico face its economic crisis.
A month later John Oliver made a call for relief to Puerto Rico's crisis on his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Lin-Manuel was invited to the show where he performed a phenomenal rap making a call to action regarding Puerto Rico's crisis The original video has gone viral with almost 5 million views on YouTube. Here's a clip of his rap:
Where many settled with simply thinking that it is too big a problem to deal with, Lin-Manuel as well as a few other brave people stood up and did what he knew best to do. As a Puerto Rican born and raised, someone who loves and cares about the land I call home, Lin-Manuel Miranda has been an inspiration and a hope to me and many other people. We can make a difference; not all is lost!
So if you're reading this, know that there is still hope. We can still do something about Puerto Rico's situation. You and I can make a difference - we just have to look in the mirror and decide the change starts with ourselves.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, if by any chance you were able to read this: Gracias! Clearly I am a big fan of your performances and I hope to one day have the opportunity to meet you and see you perform on stage, but I am a bigger fan of what you are doing for the land I call home. Thank you for showing me and so many others that we can do something about Puerto Rico. You have been a voice like Alexander Hamilton's to Puerto Rico and I pray more people will be inspired by your example as I have.