Lin-Manuel Miranda addresses In The Heights ‘colourism’ criticism

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Acclaimed filmmaker Lin-Manuel Miranda has apologised for a lack of Afro-Latino actors in the lead roles for his musical In The Heights.

The film is adapted from Miranda’s 2005 stage production of the same name and had been heralded as a step forward for Latino representation in Hollywood.

The title refers to Washington Heights, a predominantly Latino neighbourhood in New York City.

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While the film – directed by Jon M Chu and starring Anthony Ramos in the lead role – has been a critical success and widely praised for its diversity, criticism emerged over a lack of darker skinned actors.

Miranda, who served as a producer on the movie and had an on-screen role, issued an apology on Twitter.

The 41-year-old said: “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.”

Jon M Chu
Jon M Chu directed In The Heights, which has been heralded as a step forward for Latino representation in Hollywood (PA)

Miranda said he can “hear the hurt and frustration over colourism” and admitted the film “fell short”.

He said: “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 added he is “dedicated” to “learning and evolving”.

Chu retweeted the statement.

While In The Heights has been a hit with critics, it disappointed at the box office.

It took what trade magazine Variety described as a “lacklustre” 11.4 million dollars (about £8 million) over its four-day opening weekend in North America.

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