In The Heights creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda has taken to Twitter to address the lack of Afro-Latino representation.
“I started writing In The Heights because I didn’t feel seen.
And over the past 20 years all I wanted for us– ALL of us–to feel seen.
I’m 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 within it, particularly among the leading roles.
I can hear the hurt and frustration over colorism, of feeling still unseen in the feedback.
I hear that without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the work feels extractive of the community we wanted to 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.
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.
Watch the trailer for In The Heights below, which is now streaming on HBO Max.
Miranda got mixed reactions on Twitter, mostly negative and calling him out, with one user writing, “But didn’t you receive the same ‘feedback’ when it was a play? Why are you acting brand new? I’m confused.”
But didn’t you receive this same “feedback” when it was a play? Why are you acting brand new? I’m confused.— chris evans (@chris_notcapn) June 15, 2021
Another user said that “there is no way to represent every way a Latino looks. I am blonde & light-eyed.” To which another commented, “It’s easy for you to dismiss the darker versions of Afrom Latino because you were represented.”
It’s easy for you to dismiss the darker versions of Afro Latino because you were represented. It’s a slap in the face of Latinos who are of darker hue to see a movie that is supposed to be representative of Latinos completely dismiss them. It’s not that hard to be inclusive— Wendy Vedrine, LMHC 🇭🇹 (@WendyV_LMHC) June 14, 2021
Another debate ensued with the matter of how much of Latinx representation Miranda should have been responsible for in the movie:
Hyperbolic much? No one has suggested the “entire Latinx community” needed to be represented: the issue was the main cast should’ve better reflected the SPECIFIC Latinx community of Washington Heights.— 81 freckles (@msjoven) June 15, 2021
That’s not a “burden”/should’ve
happened inherently—his mea culpa: justified.
Here are some more mixed reactions of Miranda’s movie:
I’m absolutely in love with the movie, Lin. As a afro-latina i’m proud. as a brazilian when i saw my flag in “carnaval del barrio” i cried like a baby. Thank you for all you’ve done in this movie. Thank you. 🥺❤️— 𝖊𝖒𝖎𝖑𝖑𝖞 ˢᶜᶜᵖ (@1980swallowz) June 14, 2021
Have you been to Washington Heights, though? It’s FULL of afrolatino folks. It has people from lots of places, but a huge chunk is from the DR, which is why. So the point is he didn’t really represent Washington Heights when all of the Latinx characters are light-skinned.— Ntombi A. Peters (@Ntombi) June 14, 2021
Im guessing you’re also not Afro-Latino. And therefore have no business minimizing the feelings and concerns of those who are.— Ameerah (@the_mod_woman) June 14, 2021
Too bad the predominant Latino population of Wash Heights, namely Afro-Dominicans, we're not represented in their own neighborhood.— Lynea (@LyneaDH) June 15, 2021