The final days of the Obama administration are upon us and everyone is dealing with it in their own way. Saying goodbye is never easy, but in the U.S., the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next is a defining hallmark of our democracy. Earlier this week, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Christopher Jackson reprised their roles as Alexander Hamilton and George Washington, respectively and performed “One Last Time” from the “Hamilton” soundtrack. The song perfectly captures this process of handing over power, and explains some of the motivations for why George Washington felt it necessary to step down from power, rather than holding onto it. It was a powerful performance that brought many members of the audience, including Miranda, to tears.
The Obama administration played an important role in the evolution of the “Hamilton” soundtrack.
In 2009, Miranda was invited to the the White House’s Poetry Jam, where he performed a rough version of “My Shot,” a song whose opening notes bring chills down the spines of musical theater fanatics. The musical of course went on to become a national phenomenon. Even Vice President-elect Mike Pence had kind words for the production, after he was famously booed while attending the show. Pence later said, “My daughter and I and her cousins really enjoyed the show. ‘Hamilton’ is just an incredible production, incredibly talented people. It was a real joy to be there.” No matter who is in the White House, Hamilton truly is an expression of the American Dream, and the pain and beauty that comes with freedom.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning Broadway musical In the Heights is finally coming to the big screen, and it has a star-studded cast to make it happen! Joined by Quiara Alegría Hudes – who wrote the book for the musical – and Crazy Rich Asians director Jon Chu, Miranda amplifies the musical’s poignant narrative about community and pursuing your dreams with stunning visuals and tons of amazing music inspired by the rich Latinx culture of Washington Heights.
Ahead of the film’s opening at the Tribeca Film Festival, Lin-Manuel Miranda and several members of the cast join Maria Hinojosa for a poignant discussion on what the film means to them and the importance of going to college no matter who you are or where your come from.
Cast members share their own very unique experiences of growing up and making it into college.
Maria Hinojosa of Latino USA on NPR is joined by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Leslie Grace (who plays ‘Nina’), and Corey Hawkins, all of whom share their unique and profound experiences with deciding on if they would go to college and what they went through to get there.
So many of us are first or second generation college students, reaping the benefits of the hard work put in by our parents and abuelos to help us achieve our dreams. But not all of us share the same path to university, something made very clear as each of these In The Heights cast members make very clear with their own journeys.
Lin-Manuel acknowledges his own privilege on his path to university and how it influenced the film.
Manuel says that he had an advantage in his journey, thanks to his parents who really helped cultivate that desire for learning from a young age. He was able to attend a prestigious private school as a child but even then recognized a duality within him existed – going as Lin at school (in a predominantly white space) and Lin-Manuel back at home.
Upon going to college at Wesleyan University, Manuel met and made Latino friends, a lot of whom were first from their families to go to college. Many didn’t get the same crash course in code switching that he did from a younger age, so for many of his peers it was tough for them to adjust to college life.
By the end of his first year in college, his roommates at the Latino program house shrunk from eight other members to just four. This struggle and conflict with their time in college and their Latinx identity is reflected in the character Nina and her own struggle with returning to her home in Washington Heights.
For Quiara, the story of Nina’s journey is particularly personal.
Much like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes’ parents were also leaders in their community. Her father was a prominent businessman while her mother was an activist in her community. But unlike Manuel, her parents didn’t attend university, it wasn’t something that was on their path. She points out that “it wasn’t that they didn’t treasure learning, it’s just that university wasn’t part of that path.”
Quiara – who attended Yale – says that she was very conflicted as a half Latina and half white woman even though she had often grown up in white spaces. However, she wasn’t prepared for being in a space with so few Latinos. She had to learn how to merge those two parts of her life that she felt were drifting further and further apart.
The cast discusses ‘imposter syndrome’ and how to fight it.
Imposter syndrome is very real. And it can often affect those of us who feel like we don’t deserve our achievements or recognition. Maria asks the cast to how they overcame it and how they learned to own their space.
Leslie Grace reminds us that “you have a story only you can tell and you need to tap into your feelings of potential.”
Check out the full trailer for In The Heights below.
The festival’s opening night screening will be held on June 9 at the United Palace theater in Washington Heights. For the first time ever, Tribeca’s inaugural film will be screened simultaneously across all five boroughs in multiple open-air venues.
Following the opening night of Tribeca, “In the Heights” will debut in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service on June 11. It was originally scheduled to be released last year, but Warner Bros. postponed its release due to the pandemic.
We know that former President Barack Obama can sing. He’s been showing off his singing chops since he was in the White House, which why it’s no surprise that he is now an official hitmaker. You read that right. The former president of the United States is featured on a song from “Hamilton” called “One Last Time (44 Remix)” and it is blowing up the charts.
Lin-Manuel Miranda has released a new track titled “One Last Time (44 Remix)” from his Broadway show “Hamilton” featuring Barack Obama, and the song has made its debut on the Billboard charts.
Miranda included a cool picture of the former president in the recording studio.
People are clearly in shock by this addition of the former president on a “Hamilton” song track. @Koribaby tweeted: “I’m screaming. I’m crying. I’M IN CHURCH! When Barry O did the Farewell Address. Help me, Jesus. And Chris took it home with the choir. Praise be. I am not ready to say goodbye. Lin knew what he was doing. He dropped this thing like a hot potato and SHOOK for the rest of the year, leaving US SHOOK for the rest of the year. Omg.”
Check out the track below:
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Obama has been on the Billboard charts before. “A Moment in History: The Inauguration of Barack Obama” made it to the Billboard DVD charts at No. 6 and “Pop Off” by JX Cannon featuring Obama hit at No. 10 on Billboard + Twitter Emerging Artists in December 2015.
Since we’re talking about Obama’s extraordinary talents on the mic, let’s take a look back at some of his greatest hits with this awesome playlist.