You may have heard of Lin Manuel Miranda. Miranda is one of the most successful and famous movie and musical producers/actors to cross over so directly his work and politics. Discovered by the masses after his performance at the White House in 2009 debuting the song which inspired the musical, Hamilton, Miranda has always been a center point of politics in the arts.
And he’s a liberal. So why now are the progressives so mad about everything he does?
Miranda’s first smash Broadway hit was In the Heights which was recently made into a major motion picture. About a primarily hispanic and latinx serving neighborhood heavy with immigrant families, In the Heights was the first musical to challenge the stereotypical musical scores of the stage. The story in its original package, was a simple story about a couple of young immigrants/children of immigrants falling in love in the Barrio. Miranda added in some political flavor to bring the show to broadway. At the time, the issue was DACA, deportation and intra-community racism.The movie adaptation changed the politics to reflect Dreamers and extra-community racism.
From a conservative looking in – the movie was liberal. See my review here. It hit all the bench-marks. Was there a single white person in the film? No. Was America accused of systemic racism? Yes. Did the film pass the Bechdel test (the Bechdel test is a feminist bell weather and asks if the film had more than one woman discussing anything other than a man at any time)? Yes. Were there openly stated progressive politics present in the film’s plot line? Yes. Were there progressive political undertones not openly stated but clearly present in the film? Yes.
And yet, the morality police on Twitter have been shredding In the Heights saying that people should protest and not watch it. Why? They claim that not enough black-hispanic characters had lead roles in the film and that the main characters were too “white adjacent.” Excuse me?
That’s right, the progressive left feels that a film made by the son of Puerto Rican immigrants who literally grew up next door to Washington Heights, about only persons of color, celebrating cultures that many Americans are unfamiliar with is racist because the people in it are too white even though they are quite specifically not white. In fact, while the two leads of the film are not black-hispanic (how dare they) the two highest profile supporting roles were two black characters, one of whom who has almost as many solos and songs as the lead, is black-hispanic and ironically featured prominently in the promotional materials the hater above used in her hate tweet.
Leslie Grace as Nina, who belted out some of the best powerhouse ballads in the musical and dealt with much heavier material than the leading heroine, is Dominican American born to immigrant parents from the Domincan Republic. With beautiful natural hair and braids, Grace presents as, identifies as and is ethnically afro-latina. So why, in a top billed cast of 4, was 25% afro-latino (and 25% black) still “not enough” in the leading roles?
It’s a simple answer. It of course IS enough and extremely exciting to see so much representation in a major blockbuster film (and broadway show). But the progressive left needs a reason to hate Miranda because they’re afraid of his power.
Miranda managed to successfully cast black men to play George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and a Latino man (himself) as Alexander Hamilton and everyone loved it. No one disliked it. No one had a problem. White people loved it. Rich people loved it. Conservatives loved it (Mike Pence tried to see it and they booed him out of the theater if you recall). Poor people loved it. Everyone loved it. His success in this venture gave him the power to go on and make a slew of other eye-opening, culture celebrating masterpieces like Disney’s treasured animated film, Moana which features the cultures of Polynesia. And guess what? Everyone also loved that.
Miranda is challenging victim culture by choosing to mainstream and celebrate cultures and peoples which have been historically ignored. Instead of crying about it and making demands for protest, Miranda chose to create. He brings joy and love to his cause. It brings people in and makes people feel comfortable to change their minds and open themselves up to new ideas. It breaks down barriers.
Progressive can simply not have that. If we all learn to end our prejudices and celebrate each other’s cultures and stop fearing “appropriation” and offenses then what exactly will the progressives fear monger out of their victim army?
Of course, Miranda apologized for not being sensitive enough which I really wish he hadn’t. Because he really has nothing at all to apologize for. He is doing so much good and creating so much fun and joy in a world seriously lacking it.
He may have apologized, but the absolute icon, Rita Moreno was having none of it. A woman who starred as the secondary female lead in West Side Story at a time where the lead role – which was supposed to be a Puerto Rican woman – was played by a white woman (not “white adjacent” whatever the heck that means). When asked by late night host, Stephen Colbert what she thought about the “controversy” of In the Heights, she said:
“It’s like you can never do right, it seems. This is the man who literally has brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America. I couldn’t do it. I mean, I would love to say I did, but I couldn’t.”
Stephen Colbert couldn’t have this non-compliance with the progressive mob so he, a very wealthy white male, corrected her answer for her saying:
“Are you saying that while you may understand where people’s concerns come from, perhaps it’s misplaced in criticizing him in this?”
To which Rita gave her final word:
“I mean, they’re really attacking the wrong person,”
The left is afraid of Lin Manuel Miranda because they’re afraid he might just change things for the better. Miranda is a liberal with values I don’t completely agree with. But there is probably a lot we do agree on and one of them is that fun and joy and kindness is the best way to change hearts. Success only helps spread that positivity. Miranda used the system of wealth and elitism (Hamilton tickets were like $400) to allow people to experience immigrants and people of color as the very heroes who founded the nation. It was a beautiful thing to do. And In the Heights is beautiful too (even if it is a lib fest). So of course the progressives must crush it before the evil evil rich white people dare change their ways and take away their false villain.