The film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights debuted this weekend, but rather than celebrating, Miranda was responding to criticism Monday on Twitter. "It is clear that many in our dark-skinned Afro-Latino community don't feel sufficiently represented" in the film, he wrote, "particularly among the leading roles." He assured those disappointed with the film's casting that he is listening, and hears "the hurt and frustration over colorism." He apologized, and promised to do better. Variety reports that Miranda had declined to be interviewed for the Root piece that brought the discussion of representation to the forefront. He had also previously defended the casting, telling Vox last week, "It’s unfair to put any kind of undue burden of representation on In the Heights. ... There are so many millions of stories."
The film, and the Broadway musical it's based on, take place in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. The List reports that following the Root piece, some were making observations like: "The erasure of dark-skinned Afro-Latinx folks in a musical film set in Washington Heights, NYC, a BLACK Dominican neighborhood, is colorist and racist." Vulture explains that while the main cast does have a Black character, he is played by a Black non-Latino actor (Corey Hawkins) and his character is non-Latino and seen "as an outsider" by the father of his love interest. As Yahoo News reports, the film and musical have also been praised by many for the representation they do offer: "For decades it was very common for Hollywood movies to associate Latinos with negative images such as prostitution, drug dealing, and violence," the New York City councilmember who represents the district that includes Washington Heights says. "The In the Heights film shows the world we are so much more." (Read more Lin-Manuel Miranda stories.)