Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has received criticism over the lack of representation in the movie adaptation of "In The Heights," apologized on Monday for the lack of African Latino representation.
"In The Heights," written by Miranda, initially opened on Broadway in 2008. The highly anticipated film adaptation was released in theaters and on HBO Max last week.
The story captures the essence of experiencing life in Washington Heights, Manhattan as an Afro-Latino. The film tackles issues, imposter syndrome and being the first in the family to accomplish certain goals. In the middle of the plights is the emotion captured in the musical aspect.
The Jon M. Chu-directed film faced criticism after the noticeable lack of dark-skinned Afro-Latinx actors. On Monday (June 14), Miranda issued a statement.
In a lengthy post, the 41-year-old admits lack of representation and says he’s “learning from the feedback.”
“I’m seeing the discussion around Afro-Latinx representation in our film this weekend and it is clear that many of our dark-skinned Afro-Latinx community don’t feel sufficiently represented in it,” Miranda said in a statement. “I can hear the hurt and frustration over colorism, of feeling unseen in the feedback.”
Critics of the film said that the story is centered around light-skinned cast members and dark-skinned Afro-Latinos are in the background.
Chu also addressed the issue.
"I needed to be educated about that, about not fully understanding the existence of dark-skinned Latino folks like Afro-Panamanians, Black Cubans and Black Dominicans, for example, '' he mentioned in an interview with The Root.
Chu continued with, “In the end, when we were looking at the cast, we tried to get people who were best for those roles. But I hear you on trying to fill those cast members with darker skin. I think that's a really good conversation to have, something that we should all be talking about.”
The film grossed $11.4 million over the weekend, an underwhelming box-office opening. Despite the film being streamed on HBO Max, Box Office Pro’s chief analyst Shawn Robbins says this is not to blame for the in-theatre shortcoming.
“It’s not really a box office vs. streaming problem,” says Shawn Robbins to Variety. “‘In the Heights’ had a strong core fanbase, but it didn’t expand beyond that.”
Photo credit: Mat Hayward/Getty Images for The Latinx House