Leadership

'Hamilton' creator Lin-Manuel Miranda gathers 21 celebrities for a song dedicated to Puerto Rico relief

Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of "Hamilton"
Tasos Katopodis | Getty Images
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of "Hamilton"

Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the Broadway hit musical "Hamilton," released a new song Friday to raise money for Puerto Rico hurricane relief, the Associated Press reports.

Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory on Wednesday, Sept. 20. Now, over two weeks later, people are still without power, water and supplies.

All of the download and streaming proceeds from Miranda's song "Almost Like Praying," which climbed to the top of iTunes on Friday, will be donated to The Hispanic Federation's disaster relief fund. He is also selling t-shirts with the new song's lyrics and donating all of the proceeds to relief efforts.

Miranda, who went from being a broke substitute teacher to creating "Hamilton," tells NBC's Today that, like many other Americans, he has family on the island he could not communicate with after the hurricane.

"What we all experienced, if we weren't from the island, was this terrible silence in the wake of the storm," Miranda says. "Our social media feeds were full of the names of towns," where people had still not heard from their families.

Inspired by this, Miranda incorporated Puerto Rico's 78 towns into the lyrics of the songs.

He also included 21 musical features, many who were Puerto Rican, including singer Luis Fonsi (of recent "Despacito" fame) and Forbes Celebrity 100's millionaire Jennifer Lopez.

"Almost Like Praying" lifts its hook from a line in the song "Maria," featured in Broadway show "West Side Story," according to the Associated Press. Miranda said the song came to mind after the hurricane by the same name devastated the island.

"I knew that name would forever have a destructive connotation on the island and yet I have a musical theater brain, so that's where I went in my head first," Miranda tells Today.

"Thoughts and prayers are great. Thoughts and prayers are not enough," Miranda tells Today. "We need supplies, we need aid, we need a government response that matches the response of our people. That's what this song is about."

Thanks to "Hamilton," Manuel has earned 11 Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Grammy Award and at least $6.4 million.

Earlier this week, Miranda helped "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert raise $1 million for his Puerto Rico hurricane relief efforts.

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