The acclaimed musical has also received strong criticism for its casting.
Lin-Manuel Miranda addressed criticism of colorism and the lack of Afro-Latino actors in the lead roles of the film adaptation of In the heights in a statement he posted on Twitter, acknowledging that the film fell short when trying to paint a mosaic of the Latino community.
For some contexts, the time when the first preview of the In the heights was released, many fans took to social media to question the lack of dark-skinned Afro-Latinx actors in the film. Sure, there were a lot of dark-skinned background dancers, but they’re relegated to the background during wide-shot musical scenes, rather than speaking parts. To many, this felt like a superficial representation of Washington Heights, the setting for the musical, which is a predominantly Dominican neighborhood.
Miranda wrote on Twitter, saying that she had seen the discussion surrounding the film’s rendering issues:
“I can hear the pain and frustration from the colorism, from still feeling invisible in the comments.
I heard that without enough dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the work feels drawn from the community that we wanted so much to represent with pride and joy.
When trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short. So sorry “.
In an interview with The root Last week, Felice León, a native of New York City and of Afro-Cuban descent, asked the director Jon M. Chu on the lack of Afro-Latino actors in the film, to which the director responded, “We tried to get the people who were best for those roles, specifically.” Shortly after, actress Melissa barrera He said in the same interview that there were “a lot of darker skinned people” in the audition process, but ultimately, the casting directors were “looking for the right people for the roles.” The only cast member who acknowledged the lack of dark-skinned actors in the film was Leslie grace who told The Root that she “hoped[s] see my brothers and sisters who are darker than me directing these movies. ”
With how much of In the heights was built as a labor of love for the Latino community, and how much people like me felt seeing its stories on screen, it is disheartening to see the behind-the-scenes responses to the film’s inaccurate portrayal of the real Washington. Heights. Watching Miranda step forward and admit casting mistakes is a step in the right direction, but actions speak louder than words.
In the heights it is available in theaters and on HBO Max. You can read Miranda’s full statement below:
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