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Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights Controversy Explained





The creators of In the Heights are challenged for their casting choices.

Warner Bros.

In the heights, the long-awaited film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical, is garnering strong reactions after opening in theaters and on HBO Max Last week. The film is set in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood and stars Anthony Ramos as Usnavi, a bodega owner dreaming (and singing) of a better life.

But although the film celebrates the Latino community, some viewers have expressed dismay that In the Heights fails when it comes to Afro-Latino representation, since members of that community are an important part of the real Washington Heights. Instead of having lead roles in the film, the darker-skinned Afro-Latino artists have background and dance roles.

“You do not all understand that it is not about diversity”, one Tweeter bed. “We ask why a film about DOMINICANS in the HEIGHTS bears no resemblance to Dominicans or Heights. Dominicans are mostly black. Heights are predominantly [a] Dominican black neighborhood. ”

Another Tweeter(which uses the gender-neutral Latinx term) reads: “Dark-skinned Afro-Latinx actors are placed in boxes where they can’t even audition for Latinx roles.”

In a June 9 item, Felice Len of The Root wrote: “Throughout history there has been exclusion and violence against black people within Latinity. The homogeneity and illusion of a “raceless culture” within Latinidad is a myth. ”

Actress Rita Moreno also commented on reviews before later go back to his comments in a tweet.

Here’s how everyone from critics to the film’s creators to Moreno reacted to the controversy.

What did people say about the Afro-Latino portrayal in the film?

following critically acclaimed For In the Heights (he got a metacritic score of 84), some viewers were quick to express their disappointment at the lack of representation of the Black Latinos.

“I enjoyed the film / I love the musical”, author Roxane Gay wrote. “But it makes no sense to erase the AfroLatinx community which should have been widely represented in the lead and supporting roles. It’s blatant. And it takes away the fun!”

Many people recognized the importance of the film in showing the diversity of Latin American communities and celebrating Latin American culture in such a vibrant way. United States of today the critic praised him for capturing “the vibrant and changing multicultural neighborhood of Washington Heights in Manhattan with a dizzying array of song and dance styles, from hip-hop to Latin influences.” In his review, Steph Panecasio of CNET called it a “high energy love letter” to the Latino community.

Still, some people struggled to cope with the absence of an Afro-Latino in the lead roles.

“No movie can be everything for everyone, and a movie like In The Heights maybe carries an unfair burden in some ways,” said another. Tweeter bed. “But I think it’s fair to wonder how colorism, subconscious or not, could have played a role behind the scenes.”

A Tweeter said, “I really enjoyed ITH. It also disappointed its Afro-Latinx audience. Hollywood’s commitment to white supremacy and colorism is grueling and at this point untenable.”

Others felt that the criticism was directed disproportionately against color designers like Miranda.

“I think the critique of colorism in the heights is definitely a valid discussion, but I also feel like there’s this tendency to hyper-criticize color designers while letting whites get away with it. the same old racist shit they always did “, a Tweeter bed.

What did Lin-Manuel Miranda say about the colorism accusations?

Miranda responded to critics Monday, posting an apology on Twitter: “I see the discussion around Afro-Latino portrayal in our movie this weekend and it’s clear that many in our dark-skinned Afro-Latino community don’t feel sufficiently represented within it, especially among the lead roles. … In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we failed. I’m so sorry. ”

In the interview with La Racine, Jon M. Chu (who directed the adaptation In the Heights, as well as Crazy Rich Asians) responded to a question about the lack of representation of black Latinos in In the Heights by saying, “This was something we talked and I needed to be Ultimately, when we were watching the cast, we tried to find the people who were best for those roles. ”

What did Rita Moreno say about the In the Heights pushback?

While appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, Moreno, who is Puerto Rican, commented on the criticism directed at Miranda. “You can never do good, it seems. … Can’t you just wait a bit and leave him alone? she said. “There are a lot of people who are Puertorriqueo, who are also from Guatemala, who are black and who are also blond. We are all colored in Puerto Rico. That’s how it is. It would be so good if they didn’t. hadn’t come up with that and left him alone, just for now. They’re really attacking the wrong person. ”

The reaction drew criticism on Twitter, with one person writing: “I love Rita Moreno but it’s quite the opposite. We’ve had a century of movie roles reserved for Latino, black and Asian people with the lightest skin. It’s not an innovation and it doesn’t there is nothing for dark skinned people to expect. ”

Another Tweeter reads: “Can’t you wait a bit?” “we are all colors in Porto rico!” HUH ??? Rita Moreno, we know there are all colors, but WHY are not they’re not accurately portrayed on TV and in movies so ?? We know there are Afro-Latinos in Washington Heights and it’s crazy they weren’t there. ”

Moreno then tweeted a to follow, writing: “I am incredibly disappointed in myself. In making a statement in defense of Lin-Manuel Miranda on The Colbert Show last night, I clearly despised the black lives that matter in our Latin community. It is so easy to forget how celebration for some is lament for others.

“In addition to applauding Lin for his wonderful film version of In The Heights, allow me to add my appreciation for his sensitivity and determination to be more inclusive of the Afro-Latino community in the future.”

In the heights raised $ 11.4 million In its first four days, according to Variety, falling behind earlier expectations, it would generate $ 20 million. WarnerMedia has not shared audience figures for the streams on its HBO Max service.

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