Lin-Manuel Miranda responds to the casting criticism of ‘In The Heights’
After a wave of backlash online on Twitter, Lin-Manuel Miranda has finally responded to the criticism he received for the casting of his recently released movie In The Heights. In his response, he apologized for falling short on diversity and not hiring more actors of color, especially African-American and Latino actors.
In The Heights is based on Miranda’s 2008 Broadway and has recently been released on HBO Max and in theatres. Even though the movie received commendable reviews, it has also received a fair share of criticism, particularly related to the diversity of its cast. The film stars Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, and Leslie Grace as Caribbean diaspora, trying to pursue a better life.
Lin-Manuel Miranda apologizes for In The Heights lack of diversity
Some critics highlighted that most of the characters in In The Heights were white or white-passing, hinting towards racism. That inaccurately depicts New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, where the film is based. And that criticism did not evade Miranda, who instead of prevaricating, accepted it and wrote an apology. He wrote:
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 acknowledged the colorism In The Heights contained and understood that the Latino and African-American communities felt underrepresented. He continued:
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.
Lastly, Miranda said that he is learning from his mistakes, and understands In The Heights’ shortcomings, despite its success. In the end, he promised to “do better” in any future endeavors, writing:
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.
Past questions on the film’s lack of racial diversity
Furthermore, writer Felice León from The Root asked director, Jon M. Chu, and actors Hawkins, Leslie Grace, and Melissa Barrera about the same problem with In The Heights. However, they did not give as convincing a response, with the director saying:
It’s definitely something we talked about, and I needed to be educated about [it], of course. In the end, when we were looking at the cast, we tried to get the people who were best for those roles specifically… I think it’s a really good conversation to have, it’s something we all should be talking about.