Like many Americans, Lin-Manuel Miranda has loved ones in Puerto Rico who were devastated when Hurricane Maria struck the island in late September. And in the aftermath of that still-emerging disaster the award-winning creator and star of "Hamilton" was inspired to take action in the form of an all-star charity single, "Almost Like Praying."
Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winner Miranda visited TODAY Friday to talk about the single and and his recent tweets directed toward President Trump.
"Thoughts or prayers are great; thoughts or prayers are not enough," he said, referring to the reasoning behind the new original song, which was released on Friday and will raise money for Puerto Rico hurricane relief.
The song, which riffs on a line from "West Side Story's" "Maria," includes contributions from singers including Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, Fat Joe, John Leguizamo and Rita Moreno.
"Every artist made miracles happen," he said.
All proceeds from the download and stream are going to The Hispanic Federation's disaster relief fund.
But that wasn't all Miranda came to talk about; when asked about his Sept. 30 headline-making tweet in which he told the president, "You're going straight to hell" in response to a series of tweets criticizing Puerto Rico's mayor, he stood by his statement.
"The only reason that [tweet] made news is that most of the time my Twitter feed is full of dad jokes and videos of dogs and pictures of my son playing with trains," he said. "I really do my best to be the silver lining in the world, because the world is how it is."
He continued, "It's unprecedented language for me — but it's unprecedented to have the president of the United States attack the victims of a natural disaster. I've never seen that before. Those were the only words I had to express my feelings on that."
The President has come under fire for remarks he has made about those affected in Puerto Rico, when he commented on the "poor leadership ability" among island officials and added that residents "want everything to be done for them."
Miranda is taking on some of that burden by organizing the single, whose lyrics contain the names of all 78 Puerto Rican towns.
"Like many people, I have family on the island," he said. "What we all experienced if we weren't on the island was this terrible silence in the wake of the storm, and our social media feeds were full of the names of towns ... So that became the lyric."
Plus, he added, the tune had to be something everyone really wanted to hear! "I also wanted it to be catchy and danceable," he said. "The stakes were: this needs to be the catchiest song of all time."
We sense it just may be. Listen to the song here, and watch the video above:
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