Rita Moreno defended Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has faced criticism for the casting of In the Heights. Critics say that the film cast white-passing Latinos with little to no representation for Afro-Latinos.

“Well I’m simply saying, can’t you just wait a while and leave it alone? There’s a lot of people who are Puertorriqueños, who are also from Guatemala, who are dark and who are also fair. We are all colors in Puerto Rico,” Moreno told The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. “And this is how it is, and it would be so nice if they hadn’t come up with that and just left it alone, just for now. I mean, they’re really attacking the wrong person.”

She later apologized via Twitter, recognizing that she had been “clearly dismissive” of the importance of Afro-Latino representation

Her tweet read, “I’m incredibly disappointed with myself. While making a statement in defense of Lin-Manuel Miranda on the Colbert Show last night, I was clearly dismissive of black lives that matter in our Latin community. It is so easy to forget how celebration for some is a lament for others.”

Moreno added onto the thread, “In addition to applauding Lin for his wonderful movie version of In The Heights, let me add my appreciation for his sensitivity and resolve to be more inclusive of the Afro-Latino community going forward. See, you CAN teach this old dog new tricks.”

Both Miranda and the film’s director, Jon Chu, have responded to questions regarding colorism in casting choices. When asked how he would respond to people who say In the Heights featured light-skinned and white-passing Latinx actors, Chu said, “I would say that’s a fair conversation to have. Listen, we’re not going to get everything right in a movie. We tried our best on all fronts of it.”

Miranda, for his part, issued a public apology. “I can hear the hurt and frustration over colorism, of feeling still unseen in the feedback,” he said. “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 trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short. I’m truly sorry. I’m learning from the feedback, I thank you for raising it, and I’m listening.”

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