Four weeks ago, if you’d played a word association game with ‘Maria’ and ‘Puerto Rico,’ your mind might have conjured up the image of a dark-haired girl in 1950s New York City, leaning over a balcony and wishing goodnight to the boy she’d just met at a dance in a gym. It is a beautiful yet heart-wrenching image of youthful passion that has appeared on stages across the world since West Side Story premiered on Broadway in 1957.
But Mother Nature has changed that image.
Now the image is one of homes ripped apart as if they’d been nothing more than straw houses blown down by a ravenous wolf. Impassable roads crumbled into nothing more than rubble. Families desperate for the barest essentials. A paradise transformed into a scene of devastation. It is a scene of pain, thirst, hunger, and loss.
Enter Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The Tony Award winning composer and lyricist, perhaps best known for his smash Broadway hit Hamilton, is no stranger to stepping in when catastrophe strikes. At the 2016 Tony Awards, following the Orlando night club massacre that resulted in the deaths of forty-nine people, Miranda delivered a self-composed sonnet that included the simple but ever-critical reminder, “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.”
Love is love is love.
Destruction in Puerto Rico / Image Via ABC7 LA
As the son of a Puerto Rican immigrant, Miranda has a lot of love for the hurricane ravaged U.S. territory. He has family there. He spent summers writing at the house his grandfather built in the hills of Vega Alta. The house that now, much like countless other homes in Puerto Rico, has been reduced to a fragile skeleton of its former self.
The scene of his family’s home may look hopeless, but as Miranda has proven time and time again, he is not one to give in to despair. When tragedy strikes, whether it’s Mother Nature’s handiwork or man-made hardship, Miranda has a knack for channeling the power of art in combating catastrophe. And though his individual talents are laudable on their own, he’s not going solo on his mission to help the people of Puerto Rico.
In a series of twitter videos posted on September 28th, Miranda revealed his collaboration with Latin singer Ruben Blades, rapper Joell Ortiz, Hamilton star Anthony Ramos, and other celebrity artists in creating what he termed, “a love letter to Puerto Rico.” The videos include snippets of his musical love letter, which will be released in its entirety on October 6th, and is designed to help raise funds for The Hispanic Federation. Once the song hits the web, he hopes that it will point listeners to making donations, which will go towards helping to rebuild the island Miranda loves so much.
Love is love is love.
And right now, Puerto Rico needs it more than ever.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) September 27, 2017
Feature Image Via NBC News