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Meet Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Latino Taking Broadway by Storm

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Lin-Manuel Miranda is the young and tenacious phenom behind the Broadway musical hit Hamilton. Never heard of it? You’re about to. It’s a hip hop musical about one of the U.S.’s founding fathers that is so popular, a national tour from Chicago to LA was just launched. Here’s how Miranda created an artistic empire with his pioneering music and writing style.

Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican descent, grew up listening to an eclectic mix of music in his bilingual home.

this is lin. take it all in. you're welcome in advance.

A photo posted by Lin-Manuel Miranda (@peace.love.lin) on

His house was filled with albums in English and Spanish, from artists like Bruce Springsteen and The Beach Boys, to Tito Puente and Willie Colón. As a teenager, Miranda also fell in love with rap acts such as A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan and Notorious B.I.G.

Miranda’s cultural influences inspired his breakthrough musical, In the Heights.

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Credit: Steven Henry / Getty

During his time as a college student at Wesleyan University, Miranda started working on a draft for a play called In the Heights. The musical was set in Washington Heights, the Dominican-American neighborhood in New York City. After graduating college, Miranda worked as an English teacher while he tried to get In The Heights off the ground. In 2008, In The Heights made its debut, bringing salsa dancing, bodegas and rap music to Broadway. It soon became a runaway hit, earning 13 Tony Award nominations and winning four, including Best Musical.

The best part? It featured lots of Latinos. Here’s a taste of In The Heights:

CREDIT: MarksM5 / YouTube

Wondering why a Puerto Rican dude plays a Dominican? Miranda said he wanted to stay true to Washington Heights : “It wouldn’t be a fair representation of Washington Heights if I were playing a Puerto Rican. All you can do is give the most honest portrayal you can. When I speak Spanish in the show, it’s with a Dominican accent.”

After the success of In the Heights, Miranda got the idea for his next musical on the beach.

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We’re not making this up. The popularity of In The Heights led to several acting and writing gigs for Miranda, including appearances on the shows House M.D. and Modern Family. When Miranda made time to go on vacation, he found inspiration for his next play, Hamilton, while reading an Alexander Hamilton biography in a hammock. Under blue skies. This IS the American Dream, people.

READ: Dominicana-Boricua Melanie Martinez Shows You the Dark Side of Pop

Miranda gave his first sneak preview of Hamilton to President Obama.

CREDIT: The White House/YouTube

Back in 2009 when Miranda’s star was rising, he dropped a few flows in front of President Obama. He was invited to the White House to perform during the White House Poetry Jam that year. His performance included the opening song to what would go on to become Hamilton the musical.

Since then, Hamilton has made its debut. Not only is it insanely popular on Broadway… the soundtrack is also a hit.

Miranda knows his hip hop, so he had Questlove and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter of The Roots executive produce the soundtrack to Hamilton. It’s more than a musical about history – it’s making history. The lyrics and music are pushing Drake and Fetty Wap to runner-up positions. Who would have thought a musical would be the TOP RAP ALBUM?!

READ: 1 Way Michelle Obama Shows Her Love for Latinos

Miranda has plenty of famous fans, including J.Lo, who waits for him at meet-and-greets.

It’s probably safe to say you’ve made it big when your backstage squad for your own musical includes Jennifer Lopez. #BoricuaLove

And he’s not afraid to push the envelope – on stage and off.

In Hamilton, Miranda reminds everyone that America’s “founding fathers” were also immigrants. Miranda opens Hamilton with these lines:

“How does a bastard, orphan / son of a whore and a Scotsman / dropped into the middle of a / forgotten spot in the Caribbean / by Providence, impoverished, in squalor / grow up to be a hero and a scholar?”

And people are loving his unconventional take on history. Hamilton sold out even before it hit Broadway (it made almost $30 million in advanced ticket sales). With his impressive chops in acting, writing and singing, we’re looking forward to seeing even more triumphs for this modern Renaissance man.

Are you excited to watch “Hamilton” if it hits a major city near you? Click on the share button to discuss with your friends!

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Watch How these Republican Candidates Got Stumped by Beauty Guru Dulce Candy

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Watch How these Republican Candidates Got Stumped by Beauty Guru Dulce Candy

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Dulce Candy has a fan base that is 2 million strong and during last night’s debate, she proved she is more than just a beauty persona. Girl had the Republican candidates scrambling to answer the ONE question she asked: How the Republican party plans to help immigrants like herself. Check out how they all fumbled.

Dulce Candy, a beauty YouTuber, took direct aim at the GOP candidates about their immigration stances. And she did not hold back.

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Credit: Fox News / YouTube

“I’m Dulce Candy, a YouTube creator who immigrated to the United States from Mexico when I was a little girl. Since then, I am proud to say I served in the armed forces in Iraq, became a citizen and I am now an entrepreneur. There are many immigrants who contribute positively to the American economy, but some of the comments in the campaign make us question our place in this country. If America does not seem like a welcoming place for immigrant entrepreneurs, will the American economy suffer?”

And her face lets you know that she means business.

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Credit: Fox News / YouTube

She tied in being an Iraq war veteran and entrepreneur: two of the things Republicans have been championing this election cycle. Slay, girl, slay.

READ: What Would it Look Like if Presidential Candidates had Private Snapchats?

Ben Carson was the first candidate to respond and it started like this:

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Credit: Fox News / YouTube

Megyn Kelly: Dr. Carson, that’s one — that one’s for you.

Carson: Oh, great. [Laughs Nervously]

He answered…by saying we should declare a war on the Islamic State and change our immigration policies…?

Carson Answering
Credit: Fox News / YouTube

“If you’ve got 10 people coming to your house and you know one of them is a terrorist, you’re probably going to keep them all out,” Carson responded. Though, she asked how it would impact the economy if this rhetoric continued, but whatevs.

Then Jeb Bush piped up and praised Dulce Candy for her service and entrepreneurship goals. This was Carson:

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And Bush kind of made sense for a second.

READ: Jeb Bush Targets Latino Voters with a Spanish-Language Campaign Video

“And we should be a welcoming nation,” Bush said at the debate. “Our identity is not based on race or ethnicity, it’s based on a set of shared values. That’s American citizenship.”

Jeb Bush Clarity
Credit: Fox News / YouTube

Good, Jeb. Just keep going on that point.

But then he said how much he liked Dulce Candy’s name and called it “the YouTube” and his supporters felt like:

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Credit: Brooklyn Nine-Nine / FOX / brooklynninenine / Giphy

Sooo close, bro!

READ: Marco Rubio, You’re Running for President, Not Best Comic Standing

And, lastly, Marco Rubio gave it a shot and talked about reforming our out-dated immigration system to a more merit-based system.

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Credit: Fox News / YouTube

Which shouldn’t surprise you since he is actively trying to change the same immigration law his parents used to move from Cuba to the US.

Pero, like, did you even hear her question?

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Credit: yourreactiongifs / Tumblr

Watch the full exchange between candidates on Dulce Candy’s question below: *Warning: The economy never gets mentioned.*

Credit: Fox News / YouTube

Did you watch the last GOP debate? What do you care about politically? Share this story by tapping that share button below and make sure you register to vote!