Growing Up Latino With Lin-Manuel Miranda


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…

CREDIT: Miranda

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.