Over the past year, Lin-Manuel Miranda has dominated the theater scene. Writing and starring in his hit Broadway play Hamilton, Miranda’s creative talent is now known worldwide. However, one thing that many people may not know about him is that he is also a feminist!
Lin Manuel Miranda was born in 1980 to two Puerto-Rican immigrants, and he lived his entire life in New York City — near 200th street “in the heights”, which was also the title of his first Broadway smash. Miranda is extremely dedicated to his family, and, growing up in an area of New York where it was hard to accomplish his dreams, he learned to embrace his heritage and work hard to succeed.
Consequently, through his career, he has spread his wide influence to promote feminism as well, teaching girls everywhere to do what he did —work hard and overcome any stigma — to follow their dreams.
Miranda has paired up with many different companies and organizations to promote feminism. While in full swing with Hamilton, he still supported the United Nations’ HeforShe program, rapping with UN Ambassador Emma Watson about how women deserve equal pay.
“Yo, it’s Lin and I have to laugh, how can we not be equal, we’re like half. Like women are half of the people on Earth,” he raps, “And yes they should’ve been equal since birth. That means all day, every day, equal pay, every way.”
In addition, Miranda worked with Walt Disney Animation on writing the music for their latest animated film Moana, all about a Polynesian heroine who takes the fate of her village in her own hands and voyages to save it from harm. For Miranda, it was an honor to work on such a special film.
“I’m very proud to be a part of a movie where a young woman saves her family and saves the world, and that she looks very different than anyone we’ve seen in the Disney sphere,” he told The Daily Beast. “I’m very proud to be a part of that. That is such a huge thing.”
One of Miranda’s favorite songs in the film is “How Far I’ll Go”, where Moana sings about her passion for voyaging and how it conflicts with her responsibilities to her island. Nominated for a Golden Globe, Miranda felt that the lyrics deeply connected with him and the story he wanted Moana to convey to audiences.
“She grows up on this island, loves her people and family, and yet there’s still this thing that calls to her that’s in competition with her world. To me, that’s messier, more complicated and more interesting than, “I hate it here and I’ve got to get out.” It’s “I love it here and I still wanna get out. What’s wrong with me?” he stated.
“That was the last step I needed to take as a writer on this piece, was finding, no, this isn’t the story of someone who hates where they are and needs to go somewhere else, this is the story of someone who loves where there are and yet there’s still this calling.”
For Miranda, the song related to his own career. The distance between his life on 200th street and his dream of writing for Broadway was a roadblock he had to triumph over to do what he loves.
“The unpredictability of even having a life in the arts, of being able to make a living doing what you love—that’s a scary notion, and it was my way into Moana’s journey.”
So, through the film’s protagonist Moana, Miranda hopes to inspire others, especially young girls, that their neighborhood should not prevent them from achieving their dreams. Moana is a heroine who manages to follow her dream regardless of the obstacles in her way. She has passion, bravery, and strength, and Miranda beautifully conveys this through his music.
“What I relate to most in Moana is this notion of having a calling—of having something that you can’t stop thinking about even if your life, or the things around you in your neighborhood and your world, don’t necessarily point to that as a thing you can do,” he said.
So, Lin-Manuel Miranda is more than just a Broadway superstar. He is also a feminist, using his fame to empower young girls through his music. He highlights the immense potential for girls everywhere to recognize and follow their dreams, and who knows how far they will go!
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