Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda uses Twitter to apologize for the lack of Afro-Latino representation in his most recent film, In the Heights.
Lin-Manuel Miranda responds to the In the heights controversy over colorism, apologizing for the lack of Afro-Latino representation. The new film is an adaptation of Miranda’s stage production of the same name, which debuted on Broadway in 2008. In the heights is directed by Jon M. Chu (director of 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians) and many anticipated that it would be a celebration of Latin American culture in a box office success scene where Latin American representation remains very scarce.
However, since the film’s premiere last weekend, critics have questioned the lack of Afro-Latino representation in the main cast. The real-world neighborhood of Washington Heights (which is the main setting for In the heights) has the largest Dominican population in the United States, a significant portion of which identifies as Afro-Latino. Unfortunately, the lack of dark-skinned representation in the main cast fails to capture the racial diversity found in Washington Height’s Dominican diaspora. Corey Hawkins and Leslie Grace are the only two black actors in a predominantly fair-skinned cast.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
These criticisms have gained traction on Twitter, prompting a response from Miranda the same. Miranda admits that she sought “paint a mosaic of this community” but lately “he fell short” of his goals. He thanks those who raised their concerns and promises to learn from their mistakes, saying that it is “I’m so sorry.” You can read their full statement below:
In the heights It is not the first film of this caliber to be criticized for inaccurate representation. Chu faced similar criticism against his previous film. Crazy Rich Asians, which featured a majority cast from East Asia despite the racial diversity of the film’s Singapore setting. While both films strive to feature Latino and Asian faces in their respective stories, critics have been quick to point out that racial minorities within these broader ethnic groups still struggle to get the on-screen representation they deserve.
Hollywood has come a long way in screen rendering in the last decade alone. Movies like Black Panther, Coconut, Y Threatening all celebrate unique and diverse cultural heritages, and enjoyed critical and commercial success. However, while these films may be steps in the right direction, it is important to identify shortcomings as they arise. Colorism is deeply ingrained in Hollywood casting practices and will not suddenly disappear overnight, even with movies that may expressly seek to celebrate underserved communities. In the heights It may not be a perfect example of representation well done, but like its predecessors, hopefully the discussions they spark will steer Hollywood in the right direction.
More: Is In The Heights Based On A True Story? Explanation of the inspirations of Lin-Manuel Miranda
Fountain: Lin-Manuel Miranda/Twitter
James Bond: everything that went wrong with Quantum of Solace
About the Author