After director Jon Chu responded to the lack of Afro-Latinx representation in his feature musical In the Heights, the film’s composer/ lyricist/producer and co-scribe and star Lin-Manuel Miranda has weighed in with a public apology on social media.
“I’m seeing the discussion around Afro-Latinx representation in our film this weekend and it is clear that many in our dark-skinned Afro-Latinx community don’t feel sufficiently represented within it, particularly among the leading roles,” writes the 3x Tony-winning Broadway musical architect.
“I hear that without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latinx representation, the work feels extractive of the community we wanted so much to represent with pride and joy,” he continued.
“In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short,” said Miranda, “I’m truly sorry.”
Before the pic’s release, The Root interviewed Chu about the pic’s erasure of Afro Latinx people. The director said, “I think that was something we talked about and I needed to be educated about, of course. In the end, when we were looking at the cast, we tried to get the people that were best for those roles.”
“I hear you on trying to fill those cast members with darker skin. I think that’s a really good conversation to have and something we should all be talking about,” the director added.
“Listen, we’re not gonna get everything right in a movie, we tried our best on all fronts of it,” continued Chu. “I do think there’s something to be said about sharing in experiences and me never wanting to say I know what I’m doing but to just give room to everybody to speak up about what we’re doing at that moment.”
Chu, and Melissa Barrera pointed to the big numbers in the movie which included Black and Afro Latinx dancers, however, critics have pushed back, arguing those actors have historically been relegated to background roles.
Below is Miranda’s statement today:
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 14, 2021