Lin Manuel Miranda—Everybody knows him, and everybody loves him… mostly. He has written (and performed in) many musical sensations including Encanto, Hamilton, In the Heights, Vivo, and Moana. We can say for sure that he is an amazing songwriter, with hits like “How Far I’ll Go”, “In the Heights”, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”, and “My Shot”. But his acting and singing… well he’s certainly enthusiastic. This aspect of Miranda’s career is somewhat controversial. Many believe that he is only able to perform because of his status and confidence in his own abilities. Regardless, he is a creative icon and has written hits that define our generation.
Lin Manuel Miranda was born in New York on January 16, 1980. He was exposed to theater at a young age by going to his first Broadway play, Les Misérables. This musical was one of the key moments that inspired his career in songwriting and performing. Later on in his life, he attended Wesleyan University where he studied theater. The first piece that he wrote was In the Heights. This musical was about Washington Heights, a place similar to where he grew up in. He then went on to create Hamilton, Moana, Vivo, and Encanto.
Lin Manuel Miranda is one of the few play and movie writers whose names are known to all, and this can certainly be attributed to his large online presence and Hamilton’s cult following. His hip-hop and R&B-infused songs are both catchy and unique, and more than half of the early Gen Z girls you ask will admit that they did indeed have a Hamilton phase in middle school. But recently, he’s received criticism for some of the recurring problems in his shows—and of course his social media presence.
While his movies are always fun to watch, it can be agreed that the plots leave the viewers wanting more. Especially with his recent movies Encanto and In the Heights, even fans concede that the plot was vague or basic at best, while critics say it is simply nonexistent. However, no one is able to resist singing along when “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” starts playing.
Another thing commonly mentioned is Miranda’s tendency to make a self-insert in everything he writes. This includes Bruno, Usnavi, and the most notable and controversial of these—Hamilton. It could be argued that he wrote Hamilton as an idealized version of himself, with many calling the musical “A historical self-insert fanfiction”. While his vocals pass, many people agree that he simply isn’t up to par with other broadway singers, and his heavy NY accent definitely stands out.
A preface for this section: Lin Manuel Miranda is 42 years old with a wife and children. Despite this, he still seems to be young at heart, and apparently in mind too. He is famous for his love of taking selfies, but from that spawned something nobody ever wanted to see—Lin Manuel Miranda’s lip bite photos. Whether these are meant to be attractive or are just poses is hard to tell, but either way, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that maybe he’s a bit too old to be going through his emo phase.
On a more serious note, Lin Manuel Miranda has been accused multiple times of colorism and insensitivity to race. First and most recently, in his movie In the Heights, despite it being about a Latinx neighborhood, the main characters and a majority of the cast are very light-skinned. This does not accurately represent the neighborhoods that the film is supposed to be portraying, and has left many people who were hoping to see people that look like them in the film disappointed. Additionally, while Hamilton is praised for diverse casting, the decision to make slave owners or proponents of slavery black is highly questionable.
Lin Manuel Miranda is the creator of many shows that define Gen Z’s childhood and will certainly continue to be adored through generations, although he himself may have aged a bit like old swiss cheese. Despite this, his music will always inspire people to get up and dance. Who knows where the future will take Lin Manuel Miranda, and who will live, die, and tell his story.