Lin-Manuel Miranda is speaking out for the first time following a weekend of eye-opening criticism regarding the casting for his latest blockbuster musical, In the Heights.
Though the film received positive reviews for the movie's soundtrack, stunning choreography, and performances, particularly Anthony Ramos and Leslie Grace, many viewers took to social media over the weekend to call out the lack of darker-skinned, Afro-Latinx actors in leading roles. The overarching critique was that Washington Heights is a neighborhood known for its Black Latinx community, but Miranda and director Jon M. Chu's depiction of the Tony Award–winning musical seemed to portray a "cultural melting pot" version of the borough, ultimately whitewashing the neighborhood's true racial disparity.
An interview with journalist Felice León addressing the issue with Chu and other cast members went viral over the weekend as well.
Miranda, who created the original musical and produced the new film, addressed the criticism on social media, expressing that hearing the valid comments on the film's casting this time around will better prepare him when approaching his next project.
"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," Miranda wrote on Twitter. "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 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," Miranda's statement continued. "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"
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