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Growing Up Latino With Lin-Manuel Miranda

Miranda – successful, genius and avant-garde – remains grounded in his heritage.

The world first saw Lin-Manuel Miranda's lyrical aptitude, impeccable rhyme schemes and infectious melodies come together in In The Heights, a musical that brought the Dominican-American experience to a theatre forefront. Some years and several awards later (Tony, Grammy, Emmy etc.), we're singing Miranda's praises again, in the unlikely event that an American Founding Father's childhood is akin to that of a ghetto story.

READ: Lin-Manuel Miranda Brings The Drama To BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher

Miranda is not only an actor, composer and playwright, but he's an equally adept MC. So, while Hamilton is rooted in Alexander Hamilton's coming-of-age, the new hip-hop based musical is far from white-washed and, simultaneously, speaks to experiences that are estranged from the dominant culture. Hamilton is a prime example of how Miranda continues to change the world with his art; he's managed to have a voice in the ever so politically charged world we live in without coming off as overbearing or seemingly controversial. It's what makes him so brilliant and relatable to personalities that fall on each end of the spectrum. 

Miranda – successful, genius and avant-garde – remains grounded in his heritage. "I have always, always been clear about being Latino," he says to VIBE Viva.

READ: ‘Hamilton’ Broadway Album Tops Billboard Rap Chart

Get to know more about his upbringing…

Unforgettable childhood memory:
Unforgettable childhood memory? Eating limber – tropical fruit ice – in Puerto Rico.

Favorite home cooked dish:
Piñón, a Puerto Rican style of "lasagna," but the layers are made of fried sweet plantains (maduros), instead of pasta.

Craziest Hispanic proverb as told by mami or abuela:
“De tal palo tal astilla." In English it literally means “From such a stick comes such a splinter," but it doesn’t translate very well. The closest accurate translation that I can think of is: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree."

Che Guevara moment (greatest moment of rebellion):
Choosing a career in the arts.

I first saw myself at Latino when…
I have always, always been clear about being Latino.

Chupacabra or El Cuco?
Chupacabras. [Laughs]

Poor man’s meal:
Pizza bagels!

Household cure-all/remedy:
Alcoholado, which is a type of “rubbing” alcohol that is infused with natural herbs and oils.

Salsa, Bachata or Reggaeton?
Salsa, for sure.

Telenovela guilty pleasure:
My telenovela guilty pleasure would have to be Dos Mujeres, Un Camino, starring Erik Estrada.

Historical hero/heroine?
My father, Luis Miranda.

Life mantra:
“This too shall pass."  It's my mother's mantra.

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Popular Celeb Spot 'La Marina' Shut Down After Drug Bust

Adored by celebrities like French Montana, Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio, New York hot spot La Marina might be closing its doors for a good after a drug bust led to a suspension of their liquor license.

A statement released Dec. 6 by the New York Liquor Authority (SLA) broke down the case, which overlapped with an investigation by the NYPD in July. Bar manager Christian Mendez, 33, was arrested in November on felony charges after he was caught selling large amounts of cocaine, oxycodone and other drugs to undercover NYPD detectives. Their investigation into the venue also revealed 72 violations of the state liquor law like selling liquor to minors and impaired customers.

Chairman Vincent Bradley and Commissioner Lily Fan condemned the venue and hope to yank their liquor license for good. “When a bar manager is able to traffic and sell these types and quantities of narcotics from within an establishment it is incredibly alarming," Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano said.

“Licensees have a responsibility to ensure their establishments are operating within the law, and the SLA is obligated to take emergency action as it is clear that this licensee has failed to take any meaningful actions to protect the public.”

La Marina was also hit with sixteen violations of the ABC Law, including seven counts of operating disorderly premises for permitting the trafficking of controlled substances, six violations for fire, health and more safety code violations. Their inspection grade in July was something close to an F minus for mishandlings of food, shoddy plumbing and the presence of mice and flies.

The venue has been a staple in the area since its opening in 2012, attracting big celebrities and brands like Red Bull and HBO. The New York Post notes La Marina has a 15-year lease, where they make up to $7 million a year in revenue.

Their social presence hasn't acknowledged their current status, but their calendar for upcoming events has been scrapped from their website.

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Judge Awards Cardi B Release Without Bail After Alleged Bartender Attack

Cardi B reported to court Friday morning (Dec. 7) in efforts to resolve an ongoing court case, which stems from an alleged altercation back in August at a Queens strip club involving two bartenders named Jade and Baddie Gi.

Prior to attending court, the "Money" MC was threatened to face jail time by the judge in charge of the case if she missed today’s court date. She reportedly had a court appearance on Monday (Dec. 3) that she failed to report to.

In October, the Bronx rapper (born Belcalis Almanzar) turned herself in to authorities after being accused of orchestrating a physical attack on the servers at Angels Strip Club. Per TMZ, she was arrested for two misdemeanor charges: assault and reckless endangerment.

One of the bartenders, Jade Gi, was accused of having an affair with Cardi’s (now possibly estranged) husband, Migos member Offset. The “She Bad” rapper was released without bail. Prosecutors reportedly wanted to charge her with a $2,500 bail, but the judge felt she wasn’t a flight risk, meaning she wouldn’t leave the country before the case is over in its totality.

However, the judge did warn Cardi to have “no contact” to Baddie and Jade Gi, after he granted both an order of protection against the 26 year-old. She’s also not allowed to make any threats or comment on the two on social media.

Cardi is reportedly scheduled to head back to court sometime next month.

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Premiere: Fuego And A. Chal Take Over The Strip Club In "Dancin" Music Video

Dominican trap artist Fuego has created an ode to the art of stripping with his new single “Dancin,” featuring producer and R&B extraordinaire A. Chal. The visuals for the track are laced with bright blue club lights and brief salacious interludes of voluptuous young ladies dancing provocatively.

The two are seemingly in a never-ending party in efforts to promote strip club etiquette through their tantalizing lyrics. There's no denying that Fuego's sound is reminiscent of today's prominent trap artists like Migos and Future, but he packs in a Latino flair, like his contemporaries Bad Bunny and El Alfa. The Washington D.C. native's sound is similar, but it's worth noting he's been on the scene for a while, steadily etching his mark as his musical prowess rises within hip-hop and Latin audiences.

“For some reason, I've always wanted to do a sound that American hip-hop has, and then break that my way,” he tells VIBE. “When it comes to putting stuff together and making fusions of music, I've done it all my life. When I first started out, I did reggae beats, but I was rapping over them. There’s a little more urban, hip-hop sound in the Latin community. Before, it was mad reggae. It either had to be a tropical type song or reggaeton song. I've always wanted to come out with hip-hop music."

Watch the video for "Dancin" below.

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