Lin-Manuel Miranda's been hard at work trying to ramp up donations for his ancestral Puerto Rico, and last night he dropped a new star-studded single about the devastated island. All proceeds, of course, will benefit hurricane recovery.
Dubbed "Almost Like Praying" (from a line from the song "Maria," from West Side Story) the bilingual track features a slew of Latin stars, including Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Fat Joe, and Luis Fonsi of "Despacito" fame. It's pretty good:
Miranda told Spotify Latino that he wrote the track while he waited anxiously to hear from family in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. "I was on vacation when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. I stayed in constant contact with my parents as we waited for word from our family on the island. And we were all wondering what to do with our time," Miranda said. "And I began writing a song, hopefully for fundraising relief. I thought, what better way to honor Puerto Rico than to create a lyric that includes all 78 towns?"
So he put the song together and reached out to a slew of Puerto Rican artists, all of whom agreed to perform on the track. "Everyone said yes, sight unseen," Miranda told the Times, later adding, "I don’t want anyone in Puerto Rico to ever feel forgotten again."
Miranda has spoken out against the federal response to the hurricane, which has left the island with little-to-no power, cell service, or drinkable water. On Tuesday, President Trump visited Puerto Rico, but was criticized for, among other things, telling Puerto Ricans they've "thrown our budget a little out of whack," using erroneous facts to compare Hurricane Maria with 2005's Hurricane Katrina, and throwing paper towel rolls at residents during a photo opp.
On Saturday Miranda's father, Luis Miranda, Jr., wrote an op-ed for the Daily News condemning the White House's response to the storm, particularly Trump's Twitter feud with San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz:
The President is calling 3.4 million Puerto Ricans “lazy.” Puerto Ricans who are doing everything they can to get the island back to normal, or at least, first, inhabitable. He is politicizing the devastation and criticizing a Mayor who has worked overtime to provide love, comfort and hope to her neighbors, and images of her tireless and selfless efforts are now iconic. He is calling “lazy” my brother Elvin who yesterday and today, and again tomorrow, spends five hours on a line to retrieve pallets of food for people in my hometown of Vega Alta. He is calling “lazy” my friends on the island who have been working nonstop to open lines of communication to “barrios” buried under debris. He is calling “lazy” my son Lin-Manuel, who has worked day and night to raise funds to rebuild and feed and clothe the people on the island we love.
We all know what the President was REALLY doing - throwing red meat to the only supporters he has left who feast upon his insults about minorities, immigrants, women, the handicapped, those perceived to be different or less than. It is his way of detracting from a presidency that has delivered nothing to his supporters on the protectionist and anti-immigrant promises he made, nor to the country.
You can purchase "Almost Like Praying" on iTunes.