With videos and web links, Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón and Hamilton mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda have put their considerable financial and creative muscle behind disaster relief efforts in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Their works go beyond fund-raising and have equally to do with consciousness raising regarding the earthquake and hurricane catastrophes that have ravaged both areas.
In the wake of the devastating earthquakes and powerful aftershocks that recently hit Mexico, the Mexico City-born Cuarón, with support from Anonymous Content and Participant Media, has launched Mexico Rises, a multi-platform initiative whose goal is to provide urgent relief to impacted communities in Mexico.
Miranda, whose parents are Puerto Rico-born, released his own star-studded video this morning, “Almost like Praying,” a video and recording many of the biggest Latin stars in music, including Marc Anthony, Fat Joe, Gloria Estefan and Ruben Blades. See it here.
Inspired by the tireless efforts of local citizens and first-responders, Cuarón started the fund, powered by GlobalGiving, the largest global crowdfunding community connecting nonprofits, donors and companies in nearly every country, to provide affected citizens with food, water, medication and shelter, as well as support to obtain long-term sustainable work necessary for recovery.
“The devastating earthquakes in Mexico have elicited a deeply moving response from the Mexican people,” Cuarón said in announcing his effort. “In the history of our community, we have never been so informed, united and connected as we are right now. Citizens have taken this matter into their own hands and have selflessly and tirelessly worked together to come to the aid of their neighbors. Following their inspiring lead, I’m compelled to take action and join them to help begin the reconstruction of our beautiful country as it starts to recover from these tragic events.”
A video – written by Janet Champ, designed by Rock Paper Scissors, a52 and Elastic, and featuring music by Steven Price, who composed the score specially for this piece – was created in support of the campaign as a message of hope and encouragement. (To contribute to the fund, visit the Mexico Rises Earthquake Fund donation page at GlobalGiving.org/MexicoRises.)
For his part, Miranda said that while waiting for news of his family’s safety following Hurricane Maria, he conceived the song – whose title is a nod to a Stephen Sondheim lyric from West Side Story – to raise money and awareness for victims of the devastation. He said he made an a cappella demo in a bathroom in Austria — where he was on vacation — and sent it to Atlantic Records, enlisting help. The subsequent recording process spanned a breath-taking 72 hours and took him to studios in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami to link up with the music stars.
Miranda also has been active in criticizing the Trump administration’s relief efforts on the U.S. territory and will be appearing tonight on Chris Hayes’ MSNBC program to discuss it.
Miranda called Latin artists from across the islands to support and enlisted the help of his dad, Luis Miranda, to coordinate with Atlantic Records. Atlantic agreed to produce the record pro-bono and all the artists donated their time and voices to record the following weekend.
The full sale price of $1.29 will benefit The Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund to help meet hurricane-related needs and recovery in Puerto Rico.
In addition, “Almost Like Praying” will be featured in a major television event benefitting hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico, set to air commercial-free on Telemundo tomorrow in New York City, Orlando, FL and other major markets. The television special will see appearances from all of the participating artists, as well as an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the single’s swift creation. (For more information or to make a donation, see hispanicfederation.org/unidos.)