Broadway superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda is acknowledging the lack of Afro-Latinx stars in the new HBO Max musical, “In the Heights,” and now the iconic singer-songwriter is vowing to do better in the future.
“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,” 41-year-old Miranda wrote Monday 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.”
The controversy for “In the Heights” erupted over the weekend after it was pointed out that all the Latin stars in the film were light-skinned.
“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,” Lin-Manuel Miranda acknowledged in his statement.
He added, “in trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short.”
During a recent interview with The Root, director John M. Chu was asked point-blank about the lack of Black-Latin stars.
“Yeah, I mean I think that that was something we talked about and I needed to be educated about, of course,” Chu told the outlet.
He added, “In the end, when we were looking at the cast, we were trying to get the people who were best for those roles … But I hear you on trying to fill those cast members with darker-skinned [actors]. I think that’s a really good conversation to have, something that we should all be talking about.”
Meanwhile, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who both produced and appeared in the film, is making it clear he will not make the same mistake in future projects, as he regularly includes diverse casts in his works.
“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. 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.”