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Lin-Manuel Miranda Addresses IN THE HEIGHTS Colorism Controversy

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Despite widespread acclaim, the film has also sparked online criticism and debate about its lack of adequate Afro-Latinx representation.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Addresses IN THE HEIGHTS Colorism Controversy

This weekend, the big screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony Award-winning musical, In the Heights, opened in movie theaters.

Despite widespread acclaim, the film has also sparked online criticism and debate about its lack of adequate Afro-Latinx representation, particularly in its leading cast.

Tonight the show's composer and creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, responded to the criticism on Twitter. He writes:

"I started writing In the Heights because I didn't feel seen.

And over the past 20 years all I wanted was 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 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.

Thanks 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.

Siempre, LMM"

The film's director, Jon M. Chu, also responded to the controversy in an interview with The Root, saying that it was "a fair conversation to have," adding, "I hope that encourages more people to tell more stories and get out there and do it right."

Leslie Grace, an Afro-Latina actor who portrays Nina Rosario, told The Root, "I didn't realize until making this movie that I didn't really get to see myself or people that look like my siblings that are darker than me onscreen...So many times we're put on screen in one particular way, and since we get so little opportunities, everyone wants to claim that one story because it's all we've got."

The film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's "In The Heights" is now in theaters and on HBO Max. The creator of "Hamilton" and the director of "Crazy Rich Asians" invite you to a cinematic event, where the streets are made of music and little dreams become big... "In the Heights."

Lights up on Washington Heights...The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knit community.

At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life. "In the Heights" fuses Lin-Manuel Miranda's kinetic music and lyrics with director Jon M. Chu's lively and authentic eye for storytelling to capture a world very much of its place, but universal in its experience.

The cast of "In The Heights" features Anthony Ramos, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Dascha Polanco, Stephanie Beatriz, Gregory Diaz IV, Olga Meridez, and Jimmy Smits.


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