Lin-Manuel Miranda has responded to critiques of his latest film.
Last week, the long-awaited adaption to the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical In the Heights premiered in theaters. However, its release didn’t come without controversy. Many Afro-Latinos noted that the film didn’t exactly represent Washington Heights’ ethnic makeup. In particular, writers like The Root’s Felice León noted the lack of dark-skinned actors. “Granted, the trailer showcased Black dancers,” she wrote, “and there were certainly Black women in the hair salon, but where are the dark-skinned Black Latinx folks with a storyline? After all, this film is placed in Washington, Heights, N.Y., right?!”
On Tuesday, Miranda apologized to his followers for the oversight, promising to do better in the future.
“I’m seeing the discussion around Afro-Latino representation in our film this weekend,” he said in a note posted to Twitter. “It is clear that many in our dark-skinned Afro-Latino community don’t feel sufficiently represented within it, particularly among the leading roles. I can hear the hurt and frustration over colorism…I hear that without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the work feels extractive of the community we wanted so much to represent with pride and joy.”
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 14, 2021
The film’s director, Jon M. Chu, spoke with León about the lack of Black Latino actors last Wednesday. León noted that she requested to speak with Miranda himself, but was not approved.
“It’s definitely something we talked about,” Chu said. “I needed to be educated about [it], of course. In the end, when we were looking at the cast, we tried to get the people who were best for those roles specifically. … I think it’s a really good conversation to have, it’s something we all should be talking about.”