The Mirandas, including Lin-Manuel, his mother, Luz, father Luis, and sister Luz, were recognized with the president’s award at the 32nd annual Imagen Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills on Friday night.
The ceremony, which celebrates Latinos and their culture in film and television, was hosted by comedian Aida Rodriguez, and brought out famous faces like Norman Lear, Rita Moreno, Kenny Ortega, America Ferrera, and Justina Machado.
“We never should have won this award,” the musical Miranda joked while accepting the honor for his family’s humanitarian and artistic contributions. “No family is perfect, our family is really not perfect.” He went on to praise his parents and attribute his success to seeing their drive. “There was always something to be done, and they instilled that in us and so as we’ve gone on to our respective professions, we continue that legacy,” he said.
Miranda then credited his Broadway juggernaut to his upbringing. “Things like ‘Hamilton’ don’t happen alone,” he said. “If your mother is a psychologist and your dad is in politics, you write ‘Hamilton.’ That’s the recipe for that. It’s pretty simple.”
Before the Mirandas went on stage to accept the award, Corbin Bleu rapped a rendition of “Alexander Hamilton,” replacing the words as a homage to the family. Also during the ceremony, Lear got a standing ovation when Ortega commended him for turning down his invitation to the Kennedy Center Honors.
Despite championing diversity in both of his Broadway shows — “In the Heights” and “Hamilton: An American Musical” — Miranda said more can be done.
“We need more work, we need new work, we need all those writers writing,” he told Variety on the red carpet. “I’m thrilled when work at the highest level is being produced with Latinos in mind both in front of and behind the camera.”
Also on the carpet, Ortega said he continues to work on keeping the presence of Latinos in a positive light. He said his job as a director is “letting everyone out there know that there’s an audience that enjoys what we bring and our stories.”
Moreno praised the direction inclusion is headed in, and said the hardest part now falls on those behind the camera. “It’s a question of casting directors thinking about a real world where all kinds of nationalities exist,” she told Variety. “The door is almost wide open. Now we have to be able to walk through it with offers.”
She also noted that Latinos are not the only minorities putting up a fight. “We have to be constant reminders of the richness that our community lends to theater and television. Whatever it takes, short of something illegal, of course,” laughed Moreno. “We really have to be constant reminders of how very talented we are, just like any other community. It’s just that we still seem to have to prove it over and over again.”
|Imagen Foundation founder Helen Hernandez, Luis A. Miranda Jr., Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dr. Luz Towns-Miranda, Luz Miranda-Crespo and family pose for a photo at the 32nd Imagen Awards. Lauren/Variety/REX/Shutterstock|