Lin-Manuel Miranda sees art and philanthropy with the same goal
For the creator of “Hamilton”, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the inspirations for art and philanthropy are inextricably linked.
On Wednesday, Miranda announces a series of donations to organizations serving immigrants, whose experiences are at the heart of the new film version of her hit Broadway musical “In the Heights.”
“For me,” Miranda told The Associated Press, “philanthropy and artistic inspiration sort of come from the same place.”
He is always drawn to what he calls “the things that don’t leave you alone”. Immigration, he said, is both a passion and a fundamental part of his work.
“In the Heights,” he noted, focuses on Caribbean and Latin American immigrants living in New York City. And “Hamilton,” he said, “is sort of the history of the proto-immigrants.”
“I think I’m in awe of people who can take the impossible leap to leave everything they know behind and start a new life here,” he said. “And I think that’s one of the great things about our country.”
In honor of July 4, the Miranda Family Fund awarded a total of $ 225,000 in grants to immigrant rights groups and policy reform advocates across the country. The recipients are Pima County Justice for All in Arizona, California’s Coalition for Human Rights Los Angeles, Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition, Michigan’s Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, Texas’ Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, Utah Refugee Connection, Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Washington, and both Alianza for Progress and Orlando Center for Justice in Florida.
Luis Miranda Jr., Lin-Manuel’s father and co-founder of the MirRam Group, a political consulting firm that has worked on campaigns for Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, said all of the recipients have been recommended by friends of family in the immigration field.
It was important for the Mirandas to make the grants unrestricted, so that the money went to “whatever the organization deems important,” Luis said. “It will make a difference.”
“They know what they need,” Lin-Manuel added.
Although the Miranda Family Fund has been active for years in giving to the arts community, particularly arts education, the donations announced on Wednesday mark an expansion of its immigration donations, which previously included a collaboration with Hispanic Federation to Settle Immigrants: Us Work Done Coalition.
The struggle for immigrant rights became a much bigger part of the film version of “In the Heights” than the musical that debuted on Broadway in 2008. Lin-Manuel said the idea of making the character from Sonny a DREAMer, an undocumented immigrant who has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, came from Quiara Alegria Hudes, who wrote the screenplay.
“Immigration has been in the news in a whole different way in recent years,” said Lin-Manuel. “So in updating it, it kind of made sense to make it part of the conversation, because it’s part of the conversation here in the upscale neighborhoods of our communities. And so what’s so brilliant about Quiara’s choice to have Sonny struggle with his undocumented status is that he’s the most New Yorker character. He was the one who said, “If I had $ 96,000, I would fix my neighborhood. ”
Luis added that they had this character in mind when choosing which organizations to help.
“It’s to make sure that we continue to help organizations that help people like Sonny – refugees, immigrants, people who come in and try to find a way out here,” he said. he declares.
Lin-Manuel said it was important for him to shed light on the story of an undocumented immigrant.
“I think that’s one of the things that art can do that the headlines can’t always do,” he said. “Now you feel like you know someone who is going through this. You know Sonny, and it’s just going through your bloodstream in a different way.
He said donations are another way to show his support.
“We are at our best when we deliver on our promise,” Lin-Manuel said. “So many people come here from all over the world because of this promise that we export – and that we don’t keep that often. If you work hard, there is a possibility of a better life. We want to help the organizations that help make this possible for the people who take this trip. ”
Lin-Manuel said it was essential to present both the successes and the challenges of being an immigrant.
“The trick is not to look at him through rose-colored glasses, but through really clear glasses,” he said. “It’s always something we can work on, always something we can improve. ”
He also takes his own work to this idea. The release of the film version of “In the Heights” created controversy as there were no dark-skinned Afro-Latino characters in the film’s lead roles. Lin-Manuel apologized and promised “to do better in my future projects.”
“Every time you create a frame you hear people saying, ‘Hey, I’m not in the frame,’” he said. “I’m bringing this learning with me to the next project. But I also know, because I live here, how proud this neighborhood is of this film. Afro-Latinos and Latinos of all shades and how they feel and I can figure out what I can do better next time around. I save room for all of this. I think that’s the only way to grow as an artist. ‘Hamilton’ has received criticism. Everything I do is criticized. And I can take it and I can grow from it.
“You have to understand that I started writing ‘In the Heights’ because I didn’t feel seen,” he continued. “So I also hope that someone sees ‘In the Heights’ and says ‘It wasn’t my story’ and writes their own. I would be happy to. ”
One thing that is not on Lin-Manuel’s mind, however, is returning to “Hamilton,” which is set to reopen on Broadway on September 14. Theorists recently noticed Lin-Manuel’s long hair and wondered if he plans a return to the Tony award-winning smash.
He is not. And he cut his hair to prove it, which Luis happily tweeted.
“I have three more films coming out this year, don’t I? Lin-Manuel said, referring to the animated “Vivo” this summer, to Disney’s “Encanto” this fall and his directorial debut “Tick, Tick … Boom”. “I don’t have the bandwidth to go back in the show.”