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VIDEO: IN THE HEIGHTS' Anthony Ramos Talks the Importance of Seeing Latino Roles on the Big Screen

Growing up in a Puerto Rican family in Brooklyn, Anthony Ramos says he noticed there were not many Latino roles on Broadway.

Growing up in a Puerto Rican family in Brooklyn, Anthony Ramos says he noticed there were not many Latino roles on Broadway.

Then he found hope in the stage production of "In the Heights," he tells contributor Kelefa Sanneh in an interview for CBS SUNDAY MORNING to be broadcast June 13 (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network.

Watch a clip from this Sunday's episode below!

Since then, Ramos has gone on to star in the stage production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's blockbuster "Hamilton," and now can be seen leading the cast in the movie version of Miranda's "In the Heights," which so inspired him years earlier.

"'In the Heights' was like the show that kept me believing, because I was like, 'Yo, I don't know where I fit in, in this musical theater world," Ramos tells Sanneh.

Indeed, Ramos recalls being told by a teacher to change the way he spoke so people wouldn't know where he was from. He believed, he says, he needed to do that to make it. But then he saw "In the Heights."

"I'm sitting there watching this show about people singing, and dancing, and speaking about things that I grew up knowing," Ramos adds. "And they sound like me."

The film version of "In the Heights," just as it was on stage, is set in Washington Heights, in upper Manhattan, and revolves around a bodega owner who dreams - and sings - of a better life. Ramos plays the bodega owner, who was played by Miranda on Broadway.

"He's the narrator of our story ... like so many bodega owners are, right? ... These guys see everything," Ramos says. "And they hear everything."

Ramos talks with Sanneh about growing up in a tough neighborhood where he worried about his safety.

"Kids were getting jumped, stabbed. There was all types of crazy. It was wild...You're just trying to walk home and I'm getting followed," he says. "So that was, like, my motivation too growing up. I was, like, 'Yo, I gotta, like I gotta work.'"

As for his career, he tells Sanneh how he reacted when he got the call to audition for "Hamilton." And now, he says he feels the pressure to succeed after leaving the old neighborhood for the big screen.

"For sure. Because any minute, you feel like you could lose it," Ramos says. "Especially when you grow up feeling like one good thing happens and two bad things happen. You know, it's wild. Sometimes I feel like, you know, I'm the one who made it out. I'm part of group of people who can tell the stories."

CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.



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