Puerto Rican Powerhouse Luis Miranda is Celebrated in Siempre, Luis
What do the late New York Mayor Ed Koch and Hillary Clinton have in common? It’s the high voltage energy and political prowess of Luis Miranda, Jr. His electric political genius has been on the New York landscape for decades and just happens to have a son who is Broadway hitmaker Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton and In The Heights fame.
Directed by John James, we learn when Luis left Puerto Rico for New York City in the ’70’s, landed an influential position in New York City Mayor Koch’s administration as the director of Latino affairs. He’s been a diehard rep for the Latin community ever since assisting in the election of some of the most powerful politicians in the country. Miranda was the founder of the Hispanic Federation establishing a crucial and important spotlight on how politicians needed to court Latino voters. A task and talent that would lead him to working on campaigns for Chuck Schumer and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Family comes first and there is a hilarious scene where he is chiding one of his sons on a golf cart about how he needs to study. He does so with love and only the type of annoyance that can come from a parent. Not even a heart issue can stop this man from living the best life he knows how.
Following the devastation of Hurricane Maria and watching our President throw paper towels as his answer to aid from the US, Luis and Lin-Manuel plan their own relief efforts to raise money and awareness. With many obstacles, including having to relocate Lin-Manuel’s award-winning production ‘Hamilton’ to a new venue within days on the island, they manage to raise $15 million dollars.
One of the most heart-wrenching scenes in this doc is watching protestors take over the stage while Lin-Manuel is announcing bringing Hamilton to Puerto Rico. His face washes over with fear, disappointment and an uncomfortableness we have never seen for this bright energetic force. Luis attempts to talk the protestors down as he remembers he once was just like them. The situation is resolved, but the sting of what it represented lingered.
Produced by HBO, with humor and a lot of heart, Siempre, Luis tells the story of a unique, proud immigrant who found a way to live the American dream who teaches us that what you do is a reflection of who you are.