Lin-Manuel Miranda is Getting Lyrical About John Bolton’s Book Title

Lin-Manuel Miranda is getting political…

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican star and Hamilton creator has weighed in on John Bolton’s lift of a lyric from his Tony Award-winning musical for use as the title of his memoir The Room Where It Happened.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Since the former national security adviser announced the title last year, Hamiltonfans have taken notice of the reference to the musical’s song “The Room Where It Happens.” 

Earlier this year, the show’s producer, Jeffrey Seller, told a California newspaper, “I don’t even know how to describe it; it’s just strange.”

And now Miranda has just chimed it… by adding a lyric to another Hamilton number, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.” 

He tweeted – with the additions in brackets – today:

Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control
Who lives, who dies, who [borrows your song title to write a cash-in book when they could have testified before Congress]
tells your story…

Bolton’s book is set for release on June 23, and while his portrait of President Donald Trump is far from flattering, Miranda calls him out for not stepping up and testifying before Congress during the impeachment hearings.

Seizing the moment, Miranda provides a link in his tweet to Fair Fight, an advocate for fair elections in Georgia. Miranda’s link opens to a page that says, “Sign up to volunteer and help us build a more inclusive Georgia, where every vote is counted and every voice is heard.”

Indican Pictures Acquires North American Rights to Rosario Dawson’s Youth Homelessness Doc “Lost in America”

Rosario Dawson is ready to shine a greater spotlight on youth homelessness in the U.S. in theaters around the country.

Indican Pictures has acquired the North American distribution rights to the documentary Lost in America, executive produced by the 40-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress/activist and Jewel.

Rosario Dawson

Directed by Rotimi Rainwater, the documentary feature is the first film to take a national look at the issue of youth homelessness in America, highlighting the main issues that surround it: sex trafficking, the failure of the foster care system, and the rampant rejection of LGBTQ youth. 

The doc is slated for a theatrical release in November.

Lost In America follows director Rainwater, a former homeless youth, on his six-year journey to shine a light on the issue of youth homelessness.

The film features interviews with more than 30 youth in 15 cities, as well as politicians and public figures including Tiffany HaddishHalle Berry, Jon Bon JoviMiley CyrusSanaa Lathan,Rebecca Gayheart-Dane

The film gives an unflinching, honest look at what these youth have to endure just to survive, and why as a nation, this is one epidemic we just didn’t see coming. It also examines what many organizations and politicians are doing (or not doing) to help these youth in order to answer one major question:   how, in the wealthiest country in the world, can 4.2 million youth experience homelessness every year?

“It took me 25 years to talk about my time on the streets, and this film is the result of my six-year journey to not only reconcile what I went through, and to hopefully help ensure that no other youth have to experience being homeless,” said Rainwater. “I am humbled and honored that it will finally be coming out. And I hope that it helps educate Americans to the truth of youth homelessness, and helps engage and enrage all of us to be a voice for those who truly need one.”

Rotimi is a writer-director and producer known for his narrative feature Sugar which was loosely based on his time on the streets. After screening the film for homeless youth organizations around the country, and even for Congress, Rotimi was inspired to make Lost In America.

“This is not just a film, it’s a call to action. This represents our chance to give those left on the streets a fighting chance to simply live a humane life,” said Randolph Kret,CEO and founder of Indican Pictures. “The first step is creating ongoing awareness, and Lost in America marks this first step.”

Carlos Maza Named to Time Magazine’s List of the 25 Most Influential People on the Internet

Carlos Maza is making his influence felt…

Time has released the fifth annual roundup of the 25 most influential people on the Internet, with the Cuban-American Vox journalist/vlogger and video producer making the list of the personalities who have the biggest global impact on social media.

Carlos Maza

Maza is being recognized for speaking about being harassed online, and his quest to target the policy that empowered the culprits.

For two years, Maza was the focus of videos from popular right-wing commentator Steven Crowder, who repeatedly denigrated Maza’s sexual orientation and ethnicity—actions that appeared to violate YouTube’s terms of service. But when Maza reported Crowder, he says YouTube didn’t respond. So at the end of May, Maza went public with his struggles on Twitter. His thread quickly went viral, prompting a new wave of harassment from Crowder fans—and eventually, a pseudo-apology from Crowder and a response from YouTube, which demonetized Crowder’s channel. 

YouTube stopped short of banning Crowder outright, arguing initially that, while some of Crowder’s comments were hurtful, its policies were intended to protect free expression, which can include offensive opinions

In the days that followed Maza’s Twitter thread, YouTube did reveal plans to revisit its harassment policies. But Maza isn’t optimistic about systemic change. “Harassment is really good for engagement,” he tells Time.

But Maza isn’t the only Latino to make the list…

Cardi B’s rise to stardom can be traced back to Instagram, where she now has more than 47 million followers. 

As much as the 26-year-old half-Dominican American rap sensation’s life has changed since the success of “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi B’s online presence has stayed consistent—confessional videos and memes between red carpet shots, concert footage and political commentary

In January, Cardi B made headlines for posting a video criticizing President Donald Trump for not funding the government, “all for a f-cking wall.” That clip went viral, and even came to the attention of Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Brian Schatz, who publicly debated whether they should retweet the video. In the end, the lawmakers chose not to, but the video still racked up 20 million views on Instagram. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be a junior member of the U.S. House of Representatives, but when it comes to social media aptitude, her superiority is practically unmatched. 

The 29-year-old Puerto Rican politician and activist, who is simply referred to by her Twitterhandle “AOC,” has nearly 4.8 million followers on the platform, more than most members of theU.S. Congress

In January, shortly after being sworn in as the youngest Congresswoman in U.S. history, Ocasio-Cortez co-hosted a session for her peers about social media best practices, explaining the importance of being “authentic.” And though she’s made some online missteps during her tenure on Capitol Hill— like identifying her Democratic colleague Rep. John Yarmuth as a Republican while slamming older male legislators — Ocasio-Cortez has also expertly harnessed viral tropes to draw attention to subcommittee hearings and granular policy debates that have typically been relegated to the confines of C-Span: an Instagram video of questions she asked at a hearing about cannabis in February has amassed over three million views. 

Germán Garmendia is being recognized for his personality…

Since uploading his first skit to YouTubein 2011, the 29-year-old Chilean YouTuber, comedian and writer has earned more than 13 billion views, making him the world’s most popular Spanish-language YouTuber. 

In his skits and over-the-top riffs, Garmendia mines humor from everyday topics; while describing how tough he is in a video about how to be sexy, for example, he noted that he only cried a little when Mufasa died in The Lion Kingand often pushes doors labeled “pull.” 

Production values have risen on YouTube in the years since he got his start, but despite competition from bigger-budget operations, Garmendia’s main draw as he comments on memes, viral videos, and video games is still his personality. 

As with many YouTubers, he has also provoked controversy, like when misogynistic comments he made in a 2014 gameplay video resurfaced in late 2018. But his subsequent apology was well-received, and his career hasn’t stalled: in fact, Garmendia released his first novel last year.

To see the complete list, click here.

Trailer Released for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Documentary “Knock Down the House”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezis in knockdown mode…

The first trailer has been released for the documentary film Knock Down the House, which looks at the women who made a mark in last year’s midterm elections, including the 29-year-old Puerto Rican politician and the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

In all, three dozen women won U.S. House of Representatives seats, including ex-bartender AOC, as she’s now called, and Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlain.

The film had a high-profile premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Festival Favorite Awardafter Ocasio-Cortez — who had planned to visit Park City for the screening — but declined to attend amid a government shutdown, address the audience via video. 

Netflix payed $10 million to win a heated auction for the film, which followed the campaigns of four progressive women who ran against incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections. 

Of the quartet, only AOC won, but she has shaken up the status quo, bringing fresh blood into the U.S. Congress and grabbing the attention of liberal, conservative and social media audiences alike.

Las Vegas businesswoman and grieving mother Amy Vilela, West Virginia coal miner’s daughter Paula Jean Swearenginand St. Louis registered nurse Cori Bushare the film’s other subjects.

The documentary goes live May 1 on the streaming giant.

Rep. Linda Sánchez Named to the New Congress’ Recording Arts and Sciences Caucus

Linda Sánchez is ready to face the music and arts…

The 50-year-old Mexican American politician, the U.S. Representative for California’s 38th congressional district, will be part of the new Congress’ Recording Arts and Sciences Caucus.

Linda Sánchez

The bi-partisan caucus was established in 2005 and works with members of the music industry to understand sector economic and cultural impact on legislation. 

Sánchez joins a caucus that includeschairs House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA.). 

Other members of the caucus for the 116th Congressinclude Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Lou Correa (D-Calif.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Martha Roby (R-Ala.), and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). 

“The 116th Congress began on a strong tailwind for music policy issues, and the robust, bipartisan membership of this caucus demonstrates a continued focus on music policy,” said Daryl P. Friedman, chief industry, government, & member relations officer for the Recording Academy, in a statement. “Recording Academymembers look forward to working with the entire caucus to ensure that creatorsʹ voices continue to be heard on issues that affect them as well as the next generation of music creators.”

Last year, music advocates in Congress helped push the monumental Music Modernization Actinto law. Over the past 14 years, caucus members have met with artists including Band PerryKelly ClarksonBrenda Leeand Slash, along with other singers, songwriters, producers and engineers to discuss how current laws impact their work and music’s role in policy decision-making. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Becomes Youngest-Ever U.S. Congresswoman

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is bringing some young blood to U.S. Congress

The 29-year-old Puerto Rican politician and New York Democratic congressional nominee has won her general election race soundly, becoming the youngest woman ever in Congress.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez, who turned 29 last month, will inch out the previous holder of the distinction, New York Democratic Rep. Elise Stefanik, who was elected to Congress at age 30.

Ocasio-Cortez defeated New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowleyin the primary election earlier this year. The victory was considered a major upset and elevated Ocasio-Cortez onto the national political stage.

Crowley, the No. 4 Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, was seen as a potential speaker one day. His loss effectively handed the seat to Ocasio-Cortez, a Latina who has become a key left-wing voice.

Ocasio-Cortez ran unabashedly to Crowley’s left in the New York City district and previously worked as an organizer on Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ presidential campaign. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Urges Congress to Help the People of Puerto Rico

Lin-Manuel Miranda is asking Congress for a lifeline…

It has been 85 days since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and people are still struggling in the darkness nearly three months later.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Their plight is the subject of an impassioned op-ed written by the 37-year-old Puerto Rican Broadway star and Hamilton creator.

Appearing in the Washington Post on Thursday (December 14), the piece is entitled “This is What Puerto Ricans Need from the Government. Right Now,” in which he urges Congress to take decisive action to help the residents of the island.

Miranda has spoken out frequently about the need to help following the September 20 landfall of the Category 4 storm that knocked out the power to the island and destroyed thousands of homes, releasing the all-star charity single Like Praying” and visiting last month to hand out food, also announcing a partnership with a nonprofit to raise millions for relief. But it’s not enough and in his Post piece Miranda lays out four concrete things the government can and should do to help.

“Since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico 85 84 days ago, my Uncle Elvin hasn’t had electricity. You read that right. Eighty-five Eighty-four days without being able to turn on a light, or stock a refrigerator, or take a hot shower,” he writes. “Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans on the island cannot do the simple things we all take for granted. Add to this lack of power the destruction of thousands of homes, rural areas still isolated, small businesses not operating and an ever-increasing migration of Puerto Ricans to the U.S. mainland. It will take a long time for Puerto Rico to be totally functional again under the best of circumstances.”

Miranda calls the government’s response so far “painfully slow” and not commensurate with the aid offered to hurricane victims in Texas and Florida, pleading with Washington to increase the island’s Medicaid funding, move quickly on the $94 billion aid package requested by the Puerto Rican government and, most importantly, wipe out the nation’s debt.

In particular, Miranda also pointed out that the $5 billion aid package approved by Congress was followed by a 20 percent import tax on products manufactured in foreign jurisdictions — which applies to P.R. — in the tax-reform bill passed in November, a move he said could cost the island’s fragile economy more than 250,000 jobs.

Read Miranda’s full op-ed below.

Since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico 85 84 days ago, my Uncle Elvin hasn’t had electricity. You read that right. Eighty-five Eighty-four days without being able to turn on a light, or stock a refrigerator, or take a hot shower. Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans on the island cannot do the simple things we all take for granted. Add to this lack of power the destruction of thousands of homes, rural areas still isolated, small businesses not operating and an ever-increasing migration of Puerto Ricans to the U.S. mainland. It will take a long time for Puerto Rico to be totally functional again under the best of circumstances. 

The federal government’s response to the disaster in Puerto Rico has been painfully slow and not commensurate with the hurricane response in Texas and Florida. It reminds me of Ricky Martin’s 1995 song “María.” He sang, “un pasito pa’lante María, un dos tres, un pasito pa’tras.” That’s the reality in Puerto Rico — one step forward, one step backward. We rejoiced when the first package of $5 billion in aid was approved by Congress. But then the House included a 20 percent import tax on products manufactured in foreign jurisdictions in the tax-reform bill it passed in November. Because Puerto Rico would be considered a “foreign jurisdiction” under the bill, this tax would deal a mortal blow to the island’s fragile economy, costing up to 250,000 jobs.

Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony and so many of my friends in the artistic community can continue to do fundraising activities. We can march on Washington. I can write music and dedicate proceeds to Puerto Rico; Americans from all walks of life can continue to donate, following the examples of the 150,000 who already donated $22 million to the Hispanic Federation relief fund. There’s no shortage of compassion and goodwill for Puerto Rico among the American people. But it must be matched by the recognition of our government that the American citizens of Puerto Rico need, demand and require equal treatment.

I’m much more comfortable writing a song than a political opinion column. Calling members of Congress, knocking on their doors and asking you to do the same is strange territory for me. I can already imagine the online comments: “Stick to entertainment.” I wish I could. But the news is full of scandals and tragedies, and every day is a struggle to keep Puerto Rico in the national conversation.

Puerto Rico needs a lifeline that only Congress and the Trump administration can provide. The list of needed actions is short, straightforward and agreed upon by Puerto Ricans of all political stripes. First, drop the crippling 20 percent excise tax on Puerto Rican products. This is an easy one given that the tax doesn’t exist yet. It can simply be removed from the tax-reform bill right now being finalized in House-Senate conference negotiations.

Then, let’s take care of the health of 3.4 million Americans on the island. Puerto Rico receives only a small portion of the Medicaid funding that it would qualify for as a state. The island’s hospitals and health centers are struggling in the wake of the storm. We all have watched in horror how the death toll has been undercounted — by perhaps 1,000 people, according to credible estimates. With the health of so many at risk, let’s provide Medicaid parity while streamlining enrollment to many who are not working and need health care.

Next, move quickly on the $94 billion aid package requested by the Puerto Rican government. I was last in Puerto Rico in November; the massive need is not an invention. Alongside the Hispanic Federation, we’ve worked to raise money to purchase and distribute millions of pounds of food and millions of gallons of water. We have made water-filtration systems available to schools as part of the American Federation of Teachers‘ Operation Agua. These partnerships, made possible by the generosity of everyday Americans, have been incredible. But they’re not enough.

Finally, Puerto Rico cannot pay its debt to creditors. President Trump said it best during his rocky visit, before his administration walked his comment back — “wipe that out” and move on. Investors do this every day. On Broadway, I’ve seen many invest in what they hope will be a successful show, only to lose their investment. Puerto Rico’s creditors should do the right thing and walk away. It is the only way forward. Anything short of full debt forgiveness would be a brutal form of economic punishment to a people already suffering.

The past 84 8584 days have been trying for Puerto Ricans on the island and in the diaspora. More Puerto Ricans join us on the mainland every day. These are soon-to-be voters, moving to Florida, to Texas, to South Carolina, to Pennsylvania, just in time for midterm elections. It’s becoming increasingly clear that helping Puerto Rico is not just the right thing to do, it’s also the politically smart thing to do. 

I remain in awe of the generosity of everyday Americans toward their fellow citizens. Congress, meet the American people where they already are. My Uncle Elvin and so many others wait in Puerto Rico.