Lin-Manuel Miranda Responds Criticism Over Casting Of ‘In The Heights’
The release of the film version of the Broadway hit musical In The Heights, hit theaters this weekend and some viewers are criticizing the lack of dark skin Afro-Latinx representation among the film’s main Latino characters.
The co-creator of the musical and original broadway cast member Lin-Manuel Miranda addressed the backlash Monday on Twitter.
“I started writing In The Heights because I didn’t feel seen,” Miranda wrote. “And over the past 20 years, all I wanted was for us – ALL of us- to feel seen. I am seeing the discussion around Afro-Latino representation in our film this weekend and it is clear that many in our dark-skinned Afro-Latino community don’t feel sufficiently represented in it, particularly among the leading roles. I can hear the hurt and frustration over colorism, of feeling unseen in the feedback.”
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 14, 2021
Miranda added, “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. In wanting to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short.”
The three-time Tony Award winner concluded with an apology. “I’m learning from the feedback, I thank you for raising it, and I’m listening,” he said. “I’m trying to hold space for both the incredible pride in the movie we made and be accountable for our shortcomings. Thank you for your honest feedback. I promise to do better in my future projects, and I’m dedicated to the learning and evolving we all have to do to make sure we are honoring our diverse and vibrant community. Siempre, LMM.”
The film version of the musical, which is set in the neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City where Miranda was raised, noticeably only included Afro-Latinx characters in the background and dancing roles. Critics were quick to call out the real-life Washington Heights neighborhood is predominately Afro-Latinx.
The director of the film Jon Chu was asked about the lack of Black Latinx representation in the film, and how most of the main characters were either light-skinned Latinx or white-passing people. “In the end, when we were looking at the cast, we tried to get the people who were best for those roles,” he told The Root.