Lin-Manuel Miranda says 'we fell short' after In the Heights colorism backlash

·2 min read
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Days after the debut of its feature film adaptation, Lin-Manuel Miranda has apologized in response to the "hurt and frustration over colorism" in In the Heights.

Miranda, who produced and starred in the new movie based on his musical In the Heights, on Monday commented on the "discussion around Afro-Latino representation in our film," saying it's "clear that many in our dark-skinned Afro-Latino community don't feel sufficiently represented" in it.

"I can hear the hurt and frustration over colorism, of feeling still unseen in the feedback," Miranda wrote. "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."

The Root's Felice León had been among those to raise this criticism of In the Heights, a musical set in New York's Washington Heights, writing that "we absolutely need to discuss why there is only one dark-skinned Black lead (who is portraying a Black non-Latinx character) in the film." In an interview with the film's director, Jon M. Chu, León noted that "most of your principal actors were light skinned or white passing Latinx people," to which Chu said that "in the end, when we were looking at the cast, we tried to get the people who were best for those roles." But Chu added that this is a "really good conversation to have," and "we're not going to get everything right in a movie."

Miranda on Monday thanked those who provided this "honest feedback" about In the Heights, saying he is "trying to hold space for both the incredible pride in the movie we made and be accountable for our shortcomings." He concluded by promising to "do better in my future projects."

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