Lin-Manuel Miranda has apologized for the casting of In the Heights. Critics have noted that only light-skinned actors were cast as the stars, while dark-skinned actors made up the backup parts. One Black character, Benny, is played by non-Latinx actor Corey Hawkins.
Miranda apologized, writing: “I hear that, without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the world 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.”
He continued: “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 unseen in the feedback. I hear that, without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the world feels extractive of the community we wanted so much to represent with pride and joy.”
The film version of his hit Broadway musical, directed by Jon M. Chu, is set in NYC’s Washington Heights.
Miranda wrote: “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. Thank you 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.”
Many on Twitter applauded his honesty, and pointed out that he’d done a lot for representation in Hamilton.
Ana Navarro-Cardenas also called for empathy, writing: “There’s justified pent up frustration in Latino community. For so long, we’ve felt under-represented and unseen in media. But, can we recognize @Lin_Manuel is a good, decent guy who’s done much to open doors for all sorts of POC on Broadway & Hollywood. Cut the guy some slack.”
But others were less convinced. One user tweeted: “I also don’t think it’s wrong to demand more from Lin-Manuel Miranda. You can be both, grateful and disappointed, in artists and their works. It doesn’t erase his previous contributions or his advocacy.”