Rita Moreno delivered an entertaining homage to “Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda during her commencement address at the Berklee College of Music. She started her speech with lines from Terrence McNally’s award-winning play “Master Class” before rapping message to the school’s graduates to use their talents to improve the world.
Moreno started with “My choice, a voice to articulate, to lay it straight on this date my fate is to relate with rhythm and passion that you have a mission. I’m dishin’ that your education is a foundation for more than just strummin’ and drummin.’ Playin’ the reeds, the deeds, they figure into your success. Hard work and discipline, I’ll mention. You must have the audacity, the pluck, the grit, the perspicacity...Your talent may be terrific, your writing prolific, but do you have the motivation to use your creation for this generation?”
She went on to say, “Will you invent the vocabulary of dissonance for love, for good, of revolution, if needed, in the institution of society, should it fail to provide the variety to include all people, races, kinds? If it is blind to the human condition, will you call it to contrition? Speak truth to power, infuse the news—there are other views to choose.”
Moreno said that her commencement speech was inspired by fellow Puerto Rican artist, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
“It’s Mr. Hamilton that brought the rhyme to mind,” she explained. “Damn, I’ve seen that play three times. Burned in my mind. Lin caused this crime of mine, so I read him his Miranda rights. I’m speakin’ to that other Puerto Rican, so I take flight. Yo, I am history.”
Cue the mic drop!