Episode 74

full
Published on:

10th Jul 2024

No dreams are too small: In The Heights

The film adaptation of In The Heights from Lin-Manuel Miranda is a joyous spectacle of singing, dancing, and asserting your dignity in small ways.

Topics discussed:

  • There are multiple elements of hip-hop culture present in the film - and the rapping is on point. 
  • Several Latin cultures are represented, showing the diversity of Washington Heights. 
  • The vocal talent is top notch and the dancing and choreography sizzle. 
  • The film weaves in serious elements that give the light and bright storytelling some drama and weight. 
  • There are multiple story lines, all tied towards a common theme of realizing dreams.   

Also check out:

Our episode on Hamilton

Credits

Hip Hop Movie Club is produced by your HHMCs JB, BooGie, and DynoWright. Theme music by BooGie. Follow @hiphopmovieclub on Instagram!

And remember:

Don't hate...radiate!

Mentioned in this episode:

House Party screening and talkback - Fri Aug 16 @ SteelStacks

Come out to our next Live Event!  On August 16th at SteelStacks in Bethlehem we are presenting a screening of the original House Party movie, which will be preceded by a throwback DJ set and followed by a brief talkback and trivia game. Purchase tickets now at steelstacks.org.

Transcript
Speaker:

Welcome to Hip Hop Movie Club, the show

that harmonizes the rhythm of hip hop with

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the magic of movies.

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Today we're discussing the movie

adaptation of Lin -Manuel Miranda's In the

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Heights.

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We are three old heads who put their old

heads together to vibe on these films for

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you.

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I'm DynoWright Wright, podcaster,

filmmaker, longtime hip hop fan.

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And the last thing I got digging in the

crates this week is a copy of Rappin'

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Rodney, a rap song by Rodney Dangerfield

recorded in:

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I get no respect.

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Nice one.

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I'm JB, 80s and 90s nostalgia junkie, long

time hip hop fan.

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I'm already jonesing right now for a

rematch in NBA Jam versus Boogie, who just

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beat me with his Denver Nuggets squad

against my Seattle Supersonics.

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It was all Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf

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I'm Boogie, a DJ, long time hip hop fan,

and I'm feeling pretty energized.

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Coming off of our HHMC retreat this past

weekend.

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Yeah.

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In this episode, we'll answer the

question, which elements of hip hop

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culture are on display in In the Heights?

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And we'll give you five key takeaways to

make you a smarter hip hop movie fan.

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In the Heights is the story of a young

bodega owner, Usnavi Navi, and his

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suenito, little dream, of moving back to

his homeland of the Dominican Republic and

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restoring his late father's business.

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We also see the story of his very tight

-knit community of friends and extended

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family trying to achieve their own

suenitos, such as Kevin Rosario and his

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daughter Nina, Benny, Vanessa, Sonny,

Abuela, and others.

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Washington Heights is alive with the pride

of Latin culture in this film.

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There are five things you need to know

about In the Heights.

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Number one, there are multiple elements of

hip hop culture present in the film and

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the rapping is on point.

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Number two, several Latin cultures are

represented showing the diversity of

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Washington Heights.

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Number three, the vocal talent is top

notch and the dancing and choreography

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sizzle.

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Number four, the film weaves in serious

elements that give the light and bright

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storytelling some drama and weight.

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And number five,

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There are multiple storylines all tied

towards the common theme of realizing

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dreams.

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Right on.

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Boogie, why don't you kick us off and talk

about the multiple elements of hip hop

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culture that were present in In The

Heights.

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Yeah, so In the Heights the predominant

element that we see on display in this

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movie is emceeing.

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There's various songs throughout

the film in which we see Usnavi Sonny, and

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a couple other characters.

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They're just emceeing different things

that are going on throughout the film.

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And it's not just the typical rap that we

see, like something on the radio, they're

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actually rapping through

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what's going on at the moment.

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Kind of very similar to Hamilton as, you

know, this was by the same person who did

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Hamilton, Lin -Manuel Miranda.

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So it's a very similar style to how

Hamilton was as far as each character

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having the ability to pretty much rock a

mic, if you will, throughout the film.

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There's also graffiti is present

throughout the film as well.

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There's a character, Graffiti Pete, he's

introduced

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pretty early in the film, we see him

tagging, Usnavi's bodega, and Usnavi

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chasing him away, because he's trying to

steal something.

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But then you see him throughout the film

tagging murals and things like that.

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And he also ends up in the end of the

movie, having a pretty impactful part of

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the movie.

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I'm not going to give too much away with

that, but just keep in mind that he's a

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very important character in the end of the

movie.

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We also see

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breakdancing, not a whole lot of it, but I

did catch there was a blackout that does

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occur in the movie because it's one of the

hottest times of the year in New York

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City.

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And what happens when it's hot in New York

City?

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We get a blackout.

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And during the blackout, several of the

members of the community gather fireworks

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to light the area up to illuminate and

make it safe and beautiful so that people

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can kind of calm down and focus on the

fireworks instead of the lack of

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electricity.

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And during that montage, we do see several

characters, background characters break

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dancing throughout the film.

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The one element that we were struggling to

find was the DJ, which, you know, I'm used

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to it, so it doesn't bother me much.

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The DJ never gets any play.

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The DJ never gets any play, but I mean,

they were in a club, so I mean, it had to

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be a DJ playing at some point, but we

don't see him.

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That's true.

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Good point.

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so those are the elements that we see

throughout the film.

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I think you nailed it.

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DynoWright, right, anything else that you

picked up on in terms of the hip hop

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elements?

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Boogie really covered it.

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I think at one point the manhole cover, he

sort of scratched, does he scratch it or

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something?

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There's something with it and so

there's...

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stuck in gum and he's telling the story to

the little ones in the beginning and it

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kind of swivels and makes a record scratch

sound.

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That's sort of there.

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Yeah.

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I mean, I just want to expand a little bit

about the genius that Lin -Manuel Miranda

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is.

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I'm a Lin -Manuel Miranda stan.

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I'm an In the Heights stan, so that's

going to kind of spoiler alert for my

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review.

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But these songs were so well crafted.

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As you know, Lin -Manuel Miranda does his

homework as he does with Hamilton.

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He takes elements from other well -known

rappers and he weaves them in.

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A couple of songs I wanted to point out,

which I implore you listeners to go out

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and listen on Spotify or look at the

videos on YouTube, but Benny on the

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Dispatch, you have Corey Hawkins playing

the role of Benny.

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He works at Kevin Rosario's.

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taxi company and he's a dispatch.

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And the way he gives the traffic report

and he's gyrating, dancing, and you can't

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help but smile and get into it.

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It's just a couple of lyrics.

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It's like, okay, we got traffic on the

west side, get off at 79th and take the

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left side, riverside.

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He's talking about Big Papi in town for

the weekend.

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He weaves in something about the Jacob

Javits Center.

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He's giving all these landmarks within the

city and he's making it lively and fun.

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And at that point,

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At one point within that, towards the end

of it, Nina comes in and she takes over

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and she bellows out a great hello and gets

on the mic like she used to do when she

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was younger for her father.

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That was awesome.

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I love that so much.

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And then the other song with a lot of hip

hop that I really enjoy was 96 ,000 when

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they're talking about someone had won the

lottery, a lottery ticket, a winning

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ticket was sold at their store.

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And I won't get into, you know, where that

ends up and everything, but

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That song with the back and forth with the

characters, Usnavi and Benny and even

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Graffiti Pete is in that and they're going

back and forth talking about braggadocio

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and other pop culture references.

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I absolutely love the way they did that.

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Other than that, I think you covered all

the elements there very nicely, Boogie, so

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thank you for that.

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Benny was like the Weather Adam atom of

cab dispatchers.

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You know who Weather Adam is on Instagram.

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That's right.

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Weather Adam.

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That's good.

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The second takeaway is that, and it's

obvious throughout that Lin -Manuel

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Miranda had this as a mission to represent

multiple Latin cultures.

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So there were several Latin cultures that

were represented and it shows the

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diversity of Washington Heights.

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DynoWright, you wanna talk a little bit

about a couple of the cultures

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represented?

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Sure.

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We have at least Puerto Rico and the

Dominican and Cuba represented here.

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Most of the characters.

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Usnavi is Dominican and Abuela is Cuban.

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And I think the Rosarios are from Puerto

Rico.

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Is that?

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Yeah, right.

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So I'm sure I'm missing other ones, but

there's other in there.

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Vanessa is a mix, I think, of a few

different cultures.

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Yeah, those were all represented.

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And when they have the song about raising

the flag, I think it's in the Barrio,

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Carnival de Barrio, and they're talking

about raise the flag of Puerto Rico, in

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Spanish, they're saying raise the flag of

Cuba, raise the flag of Dominican.

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It's pretty powerful the way they do that.

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Yeah, they're all living together in this

town and weave together and they get

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together for festive meals and you can see

again, LMM as I call him, he does his

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homework.

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And he has

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Beautiful.

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There's stitching that you see.

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They came from Cuba.

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There's the food and all the elements of

the various cultures.

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There's the food and all the elements of

the various cultures.

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Boogie, anything to expand upon the Latin

cultures as they're represented here?

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I mean, there definitely are other

cultures in there blended in because some

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Washington Heights in the movie has become

a melting pot.

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So even though there's certain, there's

others that probably weren't mentioned,

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the influence is definitely there.

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I mean, you can see it in the food, in the

music, the song selection, the way they

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carry themselves, even the family

orientedness of them.

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gathering together, even though they

weren't all related by blood.

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That's a deep, a deep rooted Latin thing

I've noticed, you know, from several

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friends, they stick together.

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But yeah, I think it was very well done in

that aspect of showing just how all of the

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cultures, even with the differences, you

see the similarities, because they're all

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blending together really well.

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Yeah, I will add that LMM did get some

criticism for not having enough or any

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darker skinned Afro -Latino actors, which

he owned up to actually and took

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responsibility and promised to do better

next time.

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Yeah.

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LMM himself is Puerto Rican in case folks

didn't know, but he also has some traces

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of Mexican and African American ancestry

as well.

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So his background is primarily Puerto

Rican, just as a background for listeners

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here.

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Okay.

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Yeah, I can see why he took a little bit

of heat on that.

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I think there was one part that I

remember, I can't remember the name of the

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song, but they were talking about, they

mentioned the Tainos.

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For our listeners, the Tainos are the

Native Americans that were in that area of

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the Caribbean when the explorers were

coming over to the new world.

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There were Taino.

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Native Americans there.

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And also to expand a little further,

slavery didn't just exist in the United

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States.

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It also existed throughout the Caribbean.

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So they were influxing large numbers of

Africans to that area as well.

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And then you have the Spanish speaking

Europeans who were in that area.

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So you get a mix.

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You get a mix of the cultures together and

that's

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what gives Puerto Rico its flavor and also

Cuba and the Dominican Republic, which

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actually is split between on one island is

Haiti is on the other side of the island.

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So they're very similar in how they carry

themselves in appearance as well from, you

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know, the lightest light to the darkest

dark and everything in between.

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Right.

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The third takeaway we had is about the

vocal talent and the dance and

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choreography.

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So the vocal talent is top -notch.

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The dancing and choreography sizzle on the

screen here.

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Boogie, you want to talk a little bit

about that as well?

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Well, yeah, the songs were amazing.

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First of all, I didn't realize that

Melissa Barrera could sing.

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I mean, I love her.

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I mean, I've seen her in a bunch of stuff.

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And I was like, she can sing?

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But it was good, though.

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And I think the songs were amazing.

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I mean, the vocal talent was definitely

top notch.

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And it was good to see that

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there was a nice compliment to the MCing.

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So you see there's rapping going on.

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And it's good to have that counterbalance

of

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the good, strong vocal talent.

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So, but yeah, it was good.

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I enjoyed it.

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And also the dancing and choreography, you

know, I enjoyed that club scene, that

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Latin club scene.

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It took me back to the 90s and the early

:

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and it was just amazing.

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And I was like kind of like moving along

with it as they were dancing because I

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really love to dance to those.

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to that music.

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So it was good that they had that in there

as well.

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And we mentioned the break dancing as

well, you know, briefly, but yeah, I think

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even this ensemble as the characters were

singing the songs and as you know, the

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ensemble cast in the background, the

choreography was very tight.

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I mean, it was almost like...

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granted, it was based off of the Broadway

play, but it was almost like watching a

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Broadway play in the live action realm,

because you could see the tight Broadway

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style choreography throughout the film.

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Yeah, Melissa Barrera's song, she played

the role of Vanessa.

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The song, It Won't Be Long Now, that

really struck a chord with me.

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She's talking about the elevator train and

her apartment and the guys in the street

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whistling at her.

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And what I really love about this play is,

well, right from the beginning, it drew me

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in with the hip hop and the rap.

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And there's a lot of character development

that occurs right away through that.

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You know, this is Abuela, it's not really

their Abuela, you know, the block is her

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Escuela.

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And this is Sonny, my cousin, and I was

like, man, I'm drawn right in.

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I'm like, this is awesome.

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I'm enjoying the music.

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I'm learning about the characters.

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Let's go.

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But the vocal talent, Melissa Barrera,

Corey Hawkins, as I mentioned, with the

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dispatch, he weaves in both

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the rapping

and the singing.

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He shows his vocal range.

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He has such infectious energy.

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As you mentioned, the club scene.

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But also what I thought was a feast for

the eyes in terms of the dancing

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choreography was the pool sequence when

they're doing the 96 ,000 song.

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There are people people and swimming in

unison.

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And there's a lot of colors.

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Yeah, I really enjoyed that.

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And then the carnival, del barrio, when

it's just so hot out.

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And I think it's Daniela who had owned the

salon, was like, what's wrong with you

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people?

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When does the heat bother Latins?

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get out there and she drums up everybody,

everybody goes nuts and then they start

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representing their different countries and

celebrating despite the brutal heat.

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DynoWright, anything else on that.

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Vocal talent and choreography and dancing.

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Yes

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Yes, so the choreography was from

Christopher Scott from So You Think You

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Can Dance.

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So I think they brought in big guns for

that.

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And you talk about the 96 ,000 sequence,

which is very Busby Berkeley.

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very Busby Berkeley.

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So listeners, viewers who don't know who

that is, look him up.

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It's very highly choreographed like a

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cast of thousands and it's amazing how

they pulled this off in a pool and reading

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some of the interviews about the

production of it and that's a it's already

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hard to put together a big dance number

like that but to also do it in a pool

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where there's also like safety issues like

don't be drowning you know when there's a

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thousand people in a pool so very

impressive that they pulled this off and

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They weren't allowed to use drones because

of New York City regulations, so you had

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to do this kind of old school and it would

be so easy to have a drone shot or even

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just a crane shot to get above.

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But yeah, they had to improvise that at

least and it looks fantastic.

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yeah, I love that scene.

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Okay, one thing that made me laugh at the

96 ,000 scene was when Vanessa's turn to

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sing and she sings with her lovely voice,

if I won the lottery, you'll never see me

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again.

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And she's like, I'm not gonna try to sing

it.

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And then Usnavi's like, I was joking, stay

broke then.

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I just call it, it just tickled my funny

bone there.

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Yeah, just awesome.

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A feast for the eyes.

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And a fourth takeaway was the film also

weaved in serious elements that give the

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light and bright storytelling some drama

and weight.

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And I know DynoWright, you did a bit of a

deeper dive

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some of those types of

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heavy issues.

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Do you want to give us a little rundown of

some of those?

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sure.

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First of all, there's some racism and

discrimination that Nina experiences off

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camera, you know, as part of the

backstory.

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She goes off to Stanford, which is

portrayed as white dominant and her Latin

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background does not mesh with this

supposed white dominant.

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situation at Stanford in California and

Abuela experiences some discrimination in

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her backstory as well coming from Cuba.

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We have the element of DACA.

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So DACA is the Deferred Action for

Childhood Arrivals legislation that

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provides some backstory to Sonny He turns

out to be undocumented and realizes that

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he can't go to college if he's

undocumented.

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And so the support for DACA is put in the

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as part of the themes that's weaved in.

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It's also economic hardship.

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Daniela has to move her salon further

uptown to the Bronx from where they are in

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Washington Heights.

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And Vanessa's issues renting an apartment

downtown.

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She can't, she's not rented to, she has to

get a co -signer for the lease.

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And so all of that's weaved in.

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It was good of Miranda to do this to give

it a little bit of heft to the story.

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There's no, there's got to be some

conflict in any good story, so that was

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really good.

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And one thing to take away from this part

of it is, Abuela, her advice is to assert

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your dignity in small ways, and so that's

good advice for anyone, because we all

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experience some kind of

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some kind of hardship in the workplace or

wherever and bring your full selves to it

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and asserting your dignity in small ways

is certainly something to take away from

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the film.

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Nice rundown.

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Boogie anything about the issues there?

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actually.

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I don't know if I have much to add to it.

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But yeah it was

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I do think it was good

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to not glamorize everything and make it sound like everything is happy and

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You know, he got real with it and

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showed various issues that occur throughout the Latin American community

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especially, you know, not necessarily at

Stanford.

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I mean, that was just the school she

happened to go to, but, you know, being a

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first generation college student and the

awkwardness of trying everyone, everyone

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relying on you being the one, you're the

one who made it and the pressure that

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comes with it.

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And then getting to school and getting to

school and realizing that, you know, maybe

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this isn't for me because of, you know,

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because of other people’s perceptions of her

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and having to deal with that and the conflict of

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wanting to be successful and how to tell your family that’s not what you want to do or where you want to be at

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I think that was very, very well done.

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And even we didn't realize that Sonny was

a DACA kid until the end.

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But even how that tied in, you know,

that's very real.

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That's very, you know, something that's

being dealt with now.

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It's media.

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It's in the media right now.

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You know, you can click Google it and you

can find any kind of article, fairly

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recent.

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But yeah, I think that,

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you know, the

common thing, the theme was like

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everybody's really had a dream and

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they all thought that their dreams were little, but

none of their little dreams were little.

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They were all big dreams and they all

deserve to see those dreams.

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through to fruition.

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Mm -hmm.

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One other thing that I read about was that Miranda was

asked about, there's not really gang

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elements in this film, even though New

York is famous for having sort of gang

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activity here, there, and everywhere.

373

:

And he on purpose didn't have that kind of

stuff.

374

:

Like you didn't want to do a West Side

story where, of course, the Hispanic

375

:

people all have knives and they're like,

you know ready to rumble in the streets.

376

:

That's a choice.

377

:

And he finds other ways to kind of have

that in there.

378

:

Like Graffiti Pete in the beginning is

like a villain, but then he gets this

379

:

redemption story.

380

:

But it was interesting to think like,

yeah, this isn't just like Spanish Harlem

381

:

kind of thing where like, of course,

sharks and jets.

382

:

Right.

383

:

Now I think Boogie you led us into our

final takeaway, takeaway number five with

384

:

what you're talking about, the dreams.

385

:

So takeaway number five was there are

multiple storylines all tied towards a

386

:

common theme of realizing dreams.

387

:

I guess I'll kick that one off.

388

:

I mean, there are many dreams or suenitos,

which means little dreams in Spanish, as

389

:

Usnavi mentions in the beginning.

390

:

As I mentioned earlier, it was Usnavi

wanted to get back to the Dominican

391

:

Republic, his homeland.

392

:

That was his dream.

393

:

He wanted to rebuild his late father's

business, return to where he grew up,

394

:

where he had the best days of his life.

395

:

Vanessa has aspirations to be a fashion

designer.

396

:

She's stuck in her job at the salon,

doesn't pay her what she expects, and she

397

:

has bigger goals.

398

:

Kevin Rosario wants to support his

daughter's education at Stanford, and he's

399

:

using his taxi business to help finance

it.

400

:

And Nina wants to be the first one to make

it out.

401

:

and graduate college.

402

:

Sonny is kind of just finding his way and

he's dealing with his immigration status.

403

:

And Benny has a longing for Nina.

404

:

He's obviously working with his career

path and what happens there with the

405

:

dispatch.

406

:

And then Abuela's reminiscing about her

upbringing in Cuba as well.

407

:

So all these storylines tie together.

408

:

Everybody has a dream.

409

:

They're all supportive of each other.

410

:

It's a village there, which is nice to

see.

411

:

DynoWright, do you want to add into the...

412

:

commonality of these characters having

their dreams, how they came together, etc.

413

:

Yeah, you covered it really well.

414

:

A .O.

415

:

Scott in the New York Times wrote about

how In the Heights is kind of like a

416

:

In the Heights is kind of like a

417

:

thematic sequel to Hamilton.

418

:

You know, it happens much later, of

course, but it's got the same kind of

419

:

thing like American Dreams, making

something bigger than yourself.

420

:

And so this is sort of like the modern day

sort of extrapolation or like the result

421

:

of what Alexander Hamilton was doing

during the birth of the Republic.

422

:

And so it's interesting to think about

that.

423

:

Like, this is kind of what Alexander

Hamilton was thinking of, like people

424

:

being able to achieve America as a place

of opportunity.

425

:

And so that was a cool kind of thing, you

know, to think about as like not Hamilton

426

:

2 but like.

427

:

I don't know, maybe Hamilton 2: Latino

Boogaloo or something.

428

:

alternate title

429

:

Nicely put.

430

:

Boogie, anything to add on the dreams of

the characters and those themes?

431

:

Yeah, I mean, the common theme with, you

know, why people immigrate to the United

432

:

States in the first place is because they

have a dream.

433

:

They dreaming of something better.

434

:

They want something better, not

necessarily just for them, but for their,

435

:

you know, for their children, their family

members.

436

:

So, I mean, that theme, like you

said, they even tie back to how Hamilton

437

:

was, was the American dream and starting a

new country, et cetera.

438

:

and being, you know, starting this amazing

country.

439

:

And now we see, you know, years later, you

know, centuries later, we have people

440

:

immigrating here to want to achieve the

dream as well.

441

:

So yeah, I do see how, I mean, it

definitely ties into that.

442

:

I definitely see the correlation between

that tie -in and to Hamilton.

443

:

And I think that...

444

:

films like this are necessary because I

mean, like I do like the fact that he

445

:

purposefully left out, you know, gang

elements and kind of put a more positive

446

:

spin on the neighborhood and you know, the

people, I mean, this is necessary.

447

:

People need to see, you know, films like

this and this is inspirational, you know.

448

:

I also like the kind of dichotomy of go

for your dream, you know, work hard, but

449

:

also Abuela has that wisdom.

450

:

She had an expression she used throughout

the film of paciencia y fe, like patience

451

:

and faith.

452

:

And it's like, go for your dream, but have

that, have that patience and faith in

453

:

yourself and maybe of a higher being as

well.

454

:

Yeah, nicely done.

455

:

I have a question for you guys off the

cuff.

456

:

Did either of you take AP English in high

school?

457

:

And I ask because you're both very well

spoken and you did.

458

:

Did you?

459

:

AP English.

460

:

I actually slummed it in honors English.

461

:

Honors is no slum.

462

:

Boogie, did you take AP English?

463

:

I had honors English as well.

464

:

Okay.

465

:

So the reason I asked too I took two years

of AP English.

466

:

I think it was like 10th grade and 12th

grade.

467

:

And the reason I say this is I really got

into analyzing some classic literature and

468

:

really looking for metaphors and similes.

469

:

It seems like we're always looking for a

lot of metaphors and motifs and themes.

470

:

And this one like naturally drew me to

that.

471

:

I was picking up metaphors and I wanted to

kind of explain a few and

472

:

that I picked up, which I thought were

incredibly done.

473

:

And I bet you LMM was a AP student to be

able to write these plays like Hamilton

474

:

and In The Heights and Moana and whatnot.

475

:

But you see Lin -Manuel Miranda himself

plays the piragua cart guy, piragua

476

:

meaning the shaved ice.

477

:

And he's singing one of his songs is Keep

Scraping By, Keep Scraping By.

478

:

So that is.

479

:

Obviously a metaphor for everybody just

kind of just getting by, you know, doing

480

:

what they need to get by economically,

socially, sometimes by the skin of their

481

:

teeth.

482

:

But like every day, you know, they might

be broke or they might be making minimum

483

:

wage or whatever, but it's like, Hey, keep

following that dream.

484

:

But he uses the term keep scraping by and

it's scraping the ice as well.

485

:

Usnavi now he has the one song.

486

:

And I think it's towards the beginning

because he's like, I'm a spotlight choking

487

:

in the heat.

488

:

And I love that metaphor where the

spotlight or the street, I'm sorry,

489

:

streetlight, not spotlight.

490

:

I'm a streetlight choking in the heat.

491

:

Streetlights just out there standing and

it's just taking all the heat.

492

:

And he feels the same way where he's

stuck.

493

:

He's, he's getting all the elements pushed

at him, but he's just stuck there like

494

:

cemented in place.

495

:

He's got the bodega, you know, that he

runs with his cousin.

496

:

And he needs to do that to survive, but he

has the aspirations to go on to the D.R.

497

:

At what point can he get to that level

where he makes enough to move on and how

498

:

can he leave?

499

:

So he's feeling that strain.

500

:

And then in the blackout, they're singing

the song, We Are Powerless.

501

:

We are powerless, we are powerless.

502

:

And again, to the same theme of.

503

:

Yes, they're powerless in terms of they're

without electricity, but they're also, a

504

:

lot of them are feeling, you know, they're

without any type of freedom or strength

505

:

because everything's so oppressive.

506

:

The heat is oppressive.

507

:

Maybe the system is oppressive.

508

:

They're not able to advance as much as

they want.

509

:

So I picked up on those things and I

thought, wow, that was really well done.

510

:

If you watch these again, maybe you'll

pick up on some of these metaphors.

511

:

It is well -crafted.

512

:

Thematically it is, yeah.

513

:

Yeah.

514

:

And I'm sure again, it was intentional by

Lin -Manuel Miranda.

515

:

There's a lot of emotion.

516

:

I mean, what I like is that this film

gives you all the emotions.

517

:

You feel joy, you laugh.

518

:

There's some funny lines, there's some

jokes, you're dancing.

519

:

I'm almost brought to tears.

520

:

Sometimes when I do watch it, I'm crying

because I feel so emotional for Nina.

521

:

so much pressure on her.

522

:

She's like you said, Boogie, everybody is

invested in her being the one to make it

523

:

out.

524

:

And she's having a hard time.

525

:

She's being discriminated against.

526

:

People are talking, you know, in the

salon, they're talking about rumors about

527

:

rumors out about her.

528

:

And it's just tough to see someone have to

deal with all that at such a young age.

529

:

And, you know, you feel for Abuela.

530

:

and the families, et cetera, and Kevin

struggles financially.

531

:

In fact, if you guys didn't know, the

musical is different.

532

:

There's certain different elements.

533

:

I saw an off -Broadway performance of it

last summer, which was excellent.

534

:

And actually Nina's mother, Kevin

Rosario's wife is actually in it.

535

:

She plays a pretty prominent role in it.

536

:

And there's a lot of bickering back and

forth about.

537

:

the situation with the college and

everything.

538

:

Yeah, there's some slight differences

there.

539

:

If you can believe it, this movie is like

145 minutes and they cut out a lot from

540

:

the musical.

541

:

Yeah.

542

:

And it's wild.

543

:

Wow.

544

:

all have any other tidbits about the movie

that you picked up upon that you wanted to

545

:

share with the audience?

546

:

There's a lot of familiar faces in it, in

this film, which was good.

547

:

I mean, I didn't know that some of these

actors and actresses were in the movie,

548

:

but there's a lot of familiar faces.

549

:

I'm not gonna go through them like I

normally would.

550

:

I'm gonna just kind of let the viewers get

the surprise that I did.

551

:

Hahaha!

552

:

I mean, mean, couple of the bigger, go

ahead.

553

:

Go ahead, Boogie.

554

:

Christopher Jackson, the Mr.

555

:

Softee truck driver.

556

:

That was one of the biggest ones, but I

had a feeling that one of the guys from

557

:

Hamilton would make their way over to this

one.

558

:

And Christopher Jackson played George

Washington in Hamilton.

559

:

So yeah, shout out to him in his role in

this movie as well.

560

:

Oh and also Marc Anthony.

561

:

I was like, wow, Marc Anthony?

562

:

He didn't sing, but he was in the movie.

563

:

They could have used his voice.

564

:

played Sonny's father and Jimmy Smits in

it.

565

:

Yea, Smits has been a ton of things and

the Star Wars franchise as well.

566

:

Yeah, great cast, great ensemble.

567

:

Yeah.

568

:

There's one funny tidbit I liked as well

was the way that Usnavi, which is a unique

569

:

name, how he got his name based on a ship

that was seen by his father when he came

570

:

over to the US.

571

:

I won't totally give it away.

572

:

You could probably figure it out.

573

:

Hahaha

574

:

That was funny.

575

:

Yeah.

576

:

Yeah, this film adaptation had a lot of

the elements that I like, you know,

577

:

comedy, drama, hip hop, music.

578

:

Especially the hip hop.

579

:

For me, this is a feel good movie, even

though there's some sadness as well.

580

:

But it's a feel good movie.

581

:

Like when summer comes around, I put this

on now.

582

:

It's only a few years old, but like I put

this on the background because one of

583

:

those with the music is so excellent.

584

:

that I'm just happy hearing a lot of the

songs.

585

:

And I have a Spotify playlist and I have

pretty much the whole soundtrack as part

586

:

of a big playlist.

587

:

So when it comes on, it makes me smile.

588

:

This film made me want to get in the car

and drive through the Heights, which I

589

:

haven't done.

590

:

I haven't done that in probably about 15

years or so.

591

:

But I used to go to the Heights every so

often, at least a few times a year.

592

:

But yeah, this movie made me want to drive

over there and ride through the

593

:

neighborhood.

594

:

One thing that amused me was that when

they're in the club and Usnavi is dropping

595

:

the ball and not dancing with Vanessa, but

then he dances with the other girl to make

596

:

try to make Vanessa jealous.

597

:

And it's like, you remember Grease where

Danny Zuko dances with Cha-Cha DiGregorio

598

:

instead of Sandy.

599

:

This made me laugh so much.

600

:

Yes.

601

:

Ha ha ha.

602

:

Yeah.

603

:

In that club scene, we also get the

classic, you know, split down the middle,

604

:

guys on one side, the girls on the other

side.

605

:

It's show us what you got.

606

:

Yeah, I mean, I have an affinity also for

Latin culture.

607

:

I was a Spanish minor in college when we

all went to Rider and, you know, I learned

608

:

a lot about different Latin cultures, but

hadn't really visited some of those

609

:

countries or really had some of these

experiences.

610

:

And to see it on the screen, it was nice.

611

:

Nice to see.

612

:

Yeah, I too have an affinity for Latin

culture as well.

613

:

Unfortunately, I haven't been to Cuba yet.

614

:

But I've been to Puerto Rico and I've been

to Dominican Republic.

615

:

Enjoyed both of them immensely.

616

:

Hehehehe.

617

:

a lot of the Latin cultures are vibrant

and they have a good time.

618

:

Mexico, yeah.

619

:

Can't forget Mexico, been there too.

620

:

Hehehe

621

:

I have have really good friend who's Cuban

and he said that they did an excellent job

622

:

with the food that Abuela was cooking

saying, oh my goodness, it took him back.

623

:

It took him back to his childhood and what

his family would cook.

624

:

Yeah, I wanted to lick the screen when

they showed that food.

625

:

my God.

626

:

I know exactly what that tastes like.

627

:

I want some now.

628

:

I want some right now.

629

:

For real.

630

:

All right, so let's put a bow on this one.

631

:

Let's go around the room and give our

ratings for In the Heights.

632

:

Ah Boogie, as usual, we'll start with you.

633

:

So for the film version of In the Heights,

will you bring that funky flick back or

634

:

leave it in the vault?

635

:

Yeah, I mean, can't help but to bring this

funky flick back.

636

:

I mean, I've already recommended to a few

people to check out already.

637

:

So yeah, bring that funky flick back.

638

:

All right, now, DynoWright Bring that

funky flick back or leave it in the vault.

639

:

I'll bring this funky flick back.

640

:

It did have some flaws.

641

:

I thought it was a little long.

642

:

And it was edited in a way that you almost

don't get to enjoy it.

643

:

It's just sort of abrupt in some places.

644

:

And big dance numbers are hard to film,

right?

645

:

And shout out to Jon M.

646

:

Chu, director of this film.

647

:

He did really well with a tall task.

648

:

But overall, it's really fun.

649

:

So I bring this funky flick back.

650

:

As for me, I think it goes without saying,

I am bringing this funky flick back.

651

:

Sometimes I talk about this film

incessantly to my family.

652

:

Yeah, I bring it up and my family starts

shaking their head like again, again, and

653

:

like, I'm putting it on in the background.

654

:

I love it.

655

:

Yeah, this is one of my all time

favorites.

656

:

I tell so many, like you said Boogie, I

recommended this to so many people.

657

:

I'm like, have you seen In the Heights?

658

:

Have you seen The Heights?

659

:

No, no.

660

:

a lot, check it out.

661

:

And it's all the reasons we mentioned, you

know, the dancing, the choreography, the

662

:

music, the storylines.

663

:

There's some great heavy topics, light

topics.

664

:

It's got it all to me and it's packaged

well.

665

:

And I'm a huge fan of Lin -Manuel Miranda

in general, whatever he touches turns to

666

:

gold.

667

:

He does his homework.

668

:

He's a hardworking guy.

669

:

Loved it.

670

:

Hip Hop Movie Club is produced by your

HHMC's JB, Boogie, and DynoWright.

671

:

Theme music by Boogie.

672

:

Whether you're listening to the podcast or

watching us on YouTube, please give us a

673

:

follow.

674

:

It's a real power up for us.

675

:

Thanks for tuning in.

676

:

And Remember, don't hate, radiate.

677

:

Hmm, yeah, yeah.

678

:

Shine like the sun.

679

:

Shine bright like a diamond.

680

:

Yes!

681

:

There you go!

682

:

Yeah, radiate out in the sun, but be

careful with the harmful UV rays.

683

:

Yes, get some SPF.

684

:

Right on.

685

:

Yes, yes.

Show artwork for Hip Hop Movie Club

About the Podcast

Hip Hop Movie Club
Harmonizing the rhythm of hip hop with the magic of movies
HHMC is brought to you by a trio of longtime hip hop fans: JB, an 80s and 90s nostalgia junkie, Boogie, a veteran DJ and graffiti artist, and DynoWright, podcaster and filmmaker.

Upcoming Hip Hop Movie Club events:

Aug 16 - House Party screening and talkback, SteelStacks, Bethlehem PA. More information coming soon!

More events to be announced! Subscribe to our newsletter and get updated on events: https://hiphopmovieclub.substack.com/