A trio of Lompoc sisters who composed their own original song and video based on the wives of America’s Founding Fathers, then appeared on national TV because of it, has been announced as the first nominee for the 10th annual Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.
Azyiah, Amia and Maliah Simmons, each of whom attended Lompoc High School in the 2019-20 school year, earned the nomination for their music video, which they created for a performing arts competition sponsored by EduHam, an educational spinoff of the hit Broadway musical "Hamilton."
After learning that the winners of the EduHam competition would score tickets to Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre, 16-year-old Maliah, the youngest of the trio, began researching topics to explore.
She ended up learning background details of not only the men of American history but, also, their wives. Maliah made special note of a letter from Abigail Adams to her husband, second President John Adams. "Remember the ladies," Mrs. Adams told him.
“That was our idea,” said the Simmons sisters, “but we changed the title [to “Remember the Women”] to make it more our own.”
The sisters, thinking this was only for their teachers, included in-your-face lyrics little known in the 18th century: “men weaker, women smarter”; “fighting for our rights we have to work harder and my achievements shouldn't lie behind the shadow of a guy.”
The Simmons sisters were featured during Thursday’s broadcast of ABC’s Good Morning America in a segment that they thought was to spotlight a song they wrote as part of the Hamilton Education Program, a school-based initiative led by the producers of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton.” What they didn’t know was that the segment would conclude with them interacting directly with Lin-Manuel Miranda, the writer-producer who created and starred in “Hamilton.”
“That was our intent, to empower young women,” Maliah said. “They can do so much more.”
The sisters triumphed at Lompoc High School, but their dreams of the Pantages were wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, their teachers posted the music video online, where it was seen by EduHam and many more.
The sisters ended up being featured on “Good Morning America” for a five-minute segment July 2 in which they were surprised by "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who professed his admiration for the girls’ work.
“It was the empowering theme of ‘Remember the Women’ which drew the interest of the Peace Prize committee,” read a portion of the committee's statement.
To nominate someone for the Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize, call 805-733-3333 or mail to 1536 W. Cherry Ave., Lompoc, CA, 93436.
The current holder of the prize is Yasmin Dawson.
The annual Peace Prize ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 31, 2021, at the Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ, 3346 Constellation Road, Vandenberg Village.
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