Actor and director Lin-Manuel Miranda has apologized for failing to adequately represent Afro-Latinos in his latest musical project, In the Heights, that is centered on New York’s Latino communities.
The Hamilton star posted a note to social media on Monday acknowledging that casting for his latest project, set in the diverse neighborhood of Washington Heights in upper Manhattan, had lapsed into colorism, broadly defined as prejudice or discrimination against darker skin tones within the same racial group.
“In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short,” Miranda said in the statement, two days after the film opened at the box office and online.
Miranda, who produced and stars in the film which is based on his smash Broadway hit, posted the apology after the film’s director, Jon Chu, and cast members Melissa Barrera and Leslie Grace were interviewed about casting choices in the film.
Grace told the Root that until she made the film she hadn’t recognized that she “didn’t really get to see myself or people that look like my siblings that are darker than me on screen”.
Chu added: “We’re not going to get everything right in a movie, we tried our best on all fronts of it.”
In his apology, Miranda said: “It is clear that many in our dark-skinned Afro-Latino community don’t feel sufficiently represented within it, particularly among the leading roles.”
Miranda continued: “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.
“I’m trying to hold space for both the incredible pride in the movie we made and be accountable for our shortcomings,” Miranda added. “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.”