By Lin-Manuel Miranda for the New York Times, 2008
My father, Luis, grew up in Vega Alta, on the northern coast of Puerto Rico . It has a present-day population of roughly 37,000, and has produced a number of major league baseball players like the Molina brothers, Yadier, Bengie and José, all catchers. As a child spending summers with my grandparents, my sometimes baby sitter was José Pito Hernández, who grew up to play for several major league clubs. But there is no greater source of pride to Vega Alta than our favorite Yankee switch-hitter, Bernie Williams.
I remember the lacquered photograph my grandfather Abuelo Wisin kept in his office. It was a faded and sepia-toned picture of a Little League team, 26 young men scowling in the sun, wearing the logo of the Vega Alta Cooperativa, the credit union where my grandfather worked for more than 20 years. He is squinting in stern-coach mode, his eyes and crooked nose uncannily like mine. Bernie Williams is in the second row, no older than 12. Abuelo would take down the picture and point out Bernie’s brother Hiram, on the end of the second row.
“Hiram had more natural talent,” he would say. “He could have played in the majors. But Bernie never stopped practicing, he really wanted it.” It was a lesson I would carry with me the rest of my life.
My grandfather died the week after “In the Heights” opened on Broadway, leaving a gaping hole in our family, a heartbreaking counterweight to a triumphant year. When I think of Yankee Stadium, I think of countless games at his side, in our seats near third base. Like me, he was a homebody and, with the exception of my show, Yankee Stadium was the only New York experience that ever interested him.
Abuelo with a pretzel, me with a baseball cap full of Dippin’ Dots, placing bets on the Great Subway Race (I rooted for the D and won every time), standing quietly through the national anthem. Then Bernie would be at bat, and I’d be up on my feet, screaming, “Vega Alta!” I screamed in the hopes of seeing him turn our way, a glimmer of recognition on his face for my grandfather, the Little League coach who was so proud of him.
My mother insisted on doing these pictures for my 20th birthday. I was hesitant, and it was a freezing cold day. But I decided to do it. I have problems with accepting my body and my heritage. But when I posed for these photos, I couldn’t have felt more proud of myself. I struggle to this day, even as I write this, but I at least know that I have potential.
If I can start learning to accept myself, then it’s possible for anyone. So treat yourself as the beautiful gem you are.
I’m a Hispanic person, Latinx if you will and this month is totally my month. Between HIspanic Heritage Month, halloween, and my birthday is a pretty fun time for me. So to celebrate I wanted to make a nice good old fashioned top 5 list of hispanic comic book characters. These characters are characters that share a culture with me in some way or I just feel like they are really good. Hispanic characters sadly are vastly under represented and many of them are legacy or spin off characters of white men. That said it didn’t stop their writers from making them shine and the best news is almost everyone in this list is going to be in an ANAD book.
Anya Corazon: Spider-Girl seems sadly cursed to be put in mediocre stuff. She is a pretty cool character with a pretty cool personality. She was actually the first hero to go the whole Twitter route with an official twitter and everything for her book. Sadly they started her latest run by fridging her dad so that was sad stuff. In Spider-verse she got to do an important thing and then they acted like she was going to be super important but sadly thanks to the Spider-gwen craze she got pushed back in favor of making Gwen the lead. Anyway she is a spunky determined hero who keeps on fighting regardless of her situation. I hope she finally gets a spot light in Web Warriors.
Robbie Reyes: Robbie would be a cinnamon roll but it’s one that’s on fire in a halloween theme that also does a bit of murder. He takes care of his brother who can’t walk, he tries to balance school, works a job, and does so much for to keep the one person left in his life happy. Then everything went to hell when the spirit of a serial killer begins allowing him to become the newest Ghost Rider. His book felt like it skipped a beat due to be canned but honest I doubt it doesn’t get announced to get another go given that Axel Alanso and Fellipe Smith both really like the character.
Victor Mancha: Sadly our chances of seeing poor Victor in a post Secret War world is slim to none since Marvel apparently hates the runaways even though they know they are popular enough to sell issues (See Darken and Avengers Academy). Like almost every runaway Marvel Now attempted to kinda ruin his character in Avengers AI but I still love you Victor. He is the son of Ultron but also a person raised in a Hispanic household who is Hispanic. he has super cool robo powers to go along with you know being Ultrons kid.
White Tiger: Ava is so amazing not only is she one of the stronger heroes around but she is also a badass. I felt a sense of straight up Puerto Rican Pride while reading her in Young Avengers and I just picked up her solo mini series so here’s to hoping that is good. Seriously though Ava is just like a cooler Batman in terms of personality but you know not. I really really like everything I’ve read in in so far and she will be in New Avengers.
America Chavez: If you follow me on any social media, on Comics Amino, on Tumblr, whatever you know this was going to be at the very top. America Chavez is from another dimension but much like Superman being an alien doesn’t stop him from being a poster boy for white people America Chavez is Latinx through and through with random Spanish and all (not to say that’s required I don’t do any random Spanish). She is a lesbian, a princess, an ass kicker, a real hero. She gave up everything to protect us and as far as I’m concerned she deserves to be the next superman (although that will never happen with the name Miss America or at least is much more unlikely).
Decided to start my own hashtag, #StillTheSameKid.
I figured it kind of has a universal use as it could be about sexuality, gender, growing up, religion, etc. I thought it’s a good way to show that, once you come out about something, you aren’t some brand new person. You are who you’ve always been (personally, of course), and people need to understand that you are still the same person they’ve always known, not some complete stranger. I hope that maybe this can remove a bit of the stigma around certain issues.
To be honest, I don’t see this getting super big, but I thought it’d be nice to share. Keep being you, Guys!
Proud pansexual, proud genderqueer, and #StillTheSameKid.
(Uh, someone asked me what J.Lo says after “dale”–right before the bridge–in Love Make the World Go Round. It appears I deleted the ask somehow, but here’s the answer.)
I’m not a Spanish speaker, and I’m only familiar with this term from following Lin. Googling says it means a Puerto Rican, especially one living in Puerto Rico, but the usage I keep seeing (like, uh, in the song) is to refer to Puerto Ricans on the U.S. mainland a generation or two removed from the island, often in the phrase “orgullo [proud] boricua.”
So in the song I take it as an affirmation of J.Lo’s and Lin’s connection as Puerto Ricans and of ethnic pride. And it’s especially meaningful in the context of the tragedy the song is responding to.
If an actual Puerto Rican wants to correct me or expand on this, please do. Maybe @tumblricans?
Hi! I’m a 17 year old freckled Puerto Rican dork (🇵🇷Latina pride! If you happen to see this, please keep us in your thoughts as we’re going through a terrible shit storm rn) I really like reading (like ANYTHING I’ll do Dracula, I’ll do graphic novels, hmu with that LITerature SnOrt), video games, rambling (way too much) and other things! I’m sort of awkward, I’ll admit it, I’m abismal when it comes to small talk, but once you’ve got me going on something I like I won’t stop! I’d love to make some lovely friends ☺️ don’t be shy!
since this blog has a bunch of followers i’m gonna make this post here.
happy pride day to all ALL my puerto rican siblings. if you’re a mixed puerto rican you have every right to celebrate and take pride as much as us full puerto ricans. ❤💙
happy pride to my puerto rican siblings that are lgbt, disabled, mentally ill, or all of the above.
and happy pride to my puerto rican siblings who get shut out for not being either born on the island itself, or not being fluent in spanish. i know for me personally it makes me feel disconnected from my culture and i’m sure some of you feel the same. 💙❤
i hope you have a blast today doing whatever it is you plan to do even if it’s just to stay home and relax. ❤💙