Luis A. Miranda Jr. Talks 'Hamilton,' His New Book and the Importance of Community

Luis A. Miranda Jr. Talks 'Hamilton,' His New Book and the Importance of Community
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You've probably heard of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man who created the hit musical Hamilton. He's someone who rewrote the rules of theater, but his ability to redefine how people perceive culture didn't come from just anywhere. It all started with his father, Luis A. Miranda Jr., who's now penning his own narrative in how he made a better life for himself and his loved ones.

Luis released his memoir Relentless: My Story of the Latino Spirit That Is Transforming America in early May, and he spoke to Good Housekeeping about the work over Zoom. The book documents the political strategist's life as he moved from his hometown of Vega Alta, Puerto Rico to New York at 18 years old to attend college for psychology. Amid tales of love, heartbreak and his beginnings in the political world, Luis also details meeting wife Luz Towns-Miranda and raising Lin-Manuel, daughter Luz Miranda-Crespo and adopted son Miguel Towns in Washington Heights.

While Luis acknowledges he never planned on writing a book, it was loved ones who convinced him to showcase how multi-faceted a Latinx family could be. "Some of my friends convinced me that it was probably important [to write]," he exclusively says. "We're such an enmeshed family — we're in each other's business all the time. Talking about our community and about the family were important ingredients to my story. We're a conglomerate of many different kinds of people thrown together."

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(from left) Lin-Manuel Miranda, Luz Miranda-Crespo, Dr. Luz Towns-Miranda, Luis A. Miranda Jr. and Miguel Towns.Luis Miranda/Instagram

When it came to writing Relentless, Luis wasn't just adamant on telling his own story — he wanted to tell his family's as well.

While he didn't necessarily consult them about what trials and tribulations he should write about, Luis noted he felt the need to gauge their comfort levels with him sharing their most important milestones.

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"Part of the job we all have is to keep each other in check, and make sure they hear our approach and thinking about something," he explains. "Lin-Manuel gave me a great rule of thumb, which was not to write anything you're not willing to answer questions about. Once you put it out there, it's fair game... Because I was talking about the family, everyone needed to feel comfortable about the laundry. Crispy, ironed or dirty, I was putting [it] out there."

Relentless doesn't shy away from difficult moments his family has faced over the years. But the memoir also embraces how much Luis and Luz cherish the drive each of their children have, from their daughter going off to college to Lin-Manuel creating what would eventually become his first Broadway musical, In the Heights.

One thing Luis notes about his children is that each one has their own dreams and paths, which he and his wife made sure to embrace.

"[My kids] are so different in approaches to life, that you as a parent have to make sure you take their ethos and who they are into consideration," he says. "I also have a terrific partner of 46 years, who knows what makes us tick. We serve that purpose in raising kids... it's sort of a confluence of things, personalities and life that helped us raise kids the best way we could."

With that in mind, Luis is proud of all the accomplishments his kids have made. But there's something different about Lin-Manuel's success with Hamilton, which continues to be a cultural phenomenon almost a decade after hitting the Broadway stage.

As Luis notes, his son's pride and joy didn't just change the future of theater. Hamilton also had a lasting effect on culture as a whole. The show is often taught as part of U.S. History classes, prompting the Mirandas to create the Hamilton Education Program, which allows students to explore American history with a lens that expands outside of textbooks.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton. Disney+

So, what makes this accomplishment even sweeter for Luis? The fact that Lin-Manuel's writing highlighted the diversity of the United States in a way people continue to see every day.

"Lin-Manuel says all the time, Hamilton gave a mega microphone we didn't have before," he concluded. "The fact that the son of Puerto Rican and Mexican parents gets to write, in a unique way, the story of the burden of the United States speaks to the greatness of our country."

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