, the highly anticipated film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical, is drawing strong reactions after In the past week. The film takes place in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York and stars Anthony Ramos as Usnavi, a winery owner who dreams (and sings) of a better life.
But while the film celebrates the Latino community, some viewers have expressed dismay that In the Heights falls short when it comes to Afro-Latino representation, as members of that community make up a significant part of the true Washington Heights. Rather than having lead roles in the film, the darker-skinned Afro-Latin artists have background and dance roles.
“They don’t understand that this is not about diversity,” one cheep read. “We are asking why a movie about DOMINICANS in the Heights is nothing like the Dominicans or the Heights. The Dominicans are mostly black. [a] black dominican neighborhood “.
Other cheep (using the gender-neutral Latinx term) says: “Dark-skinned Afro-Latinx actors are placed in boxes where they can’t even audition for Latino roles.”
On a June 9 Article, Felice León of the publication The Root wrote: “Throughout history, there has been exclusion and violence towards blackness within Latinity. The homogeneity and illusion of a ‘race-free culture’ within Latinity is a myth. ”
This is how everyone from critics to the film’s creators to Moreno has responded to the controversy.
What have people said about the Afro-Latino representation in the film?
Next critical recognition For In the Heights (it scored 84 on Metacritic), some viewers were quick to express disappointment at the lack of representation of black Latinos.
“I enjoyed the movie / I love the musical”, author Roxane Gay wrote. “But there is no point in erasing the AfroLatinx community that should have been widely represented in main and supporting roles. It is egregious. And it negates the enjoyment!”
Many people recognized the importance of the film in showing the diversity of Latino communities and celebrating Latino culture in such a vibrant way. USA Today’s the reviewer praised it for capturing “Manhattan’s bustling and ever-changing multicultural Washington Heights neighborhood with a dizzying array of song and dance styles, from hip-hop to Latino influences.” He called it a “high-energy love letter” to the Latino community.
Still, some people struggled to cope with the absence of Afro-Latinos in the lead roles.
“No movie can be everything to all people, and a movie like In The Heights perhaps carries an unfair burden in certain respects,” another cheep read. “But I think it’s fair to question how colorism, unconscious or not, may have played a role behind the scenes.”
One cheep He said: “I really enjoyed ITH. It also failed its Afro-Latino audience. Hollywood’s commitment to white supremacy and colorism is exhausting and, at this point, indefensible.”
Others felt criticism was disproportionately directed at creators of color like Miranda.
“I think the critique of colorism on high is definitely a valid discussion, but I also feel that there is a tendency to hypercriticize creators of color while letting white people get away with the same old racist bullshit.” . one cheep read.
What did Lin-Manuel Miranda say about the accusations of colorism?
Miranda responded to criticism on Monday, posting an apology on Twitter: “I am watching the discussion about Afro-Latino representation in our film this weekend and it is clear that many in our dark-skinned Afro-Latino community do not feel sufficiently represented within it, particularly among the main roles … In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short. I am so sorry. ”
In the interview with The Root, Jon M. Chu (who directed the adaptation of In the Heights, as well as Crazy Rich Asians) responded to a question about the lack of representation of black Latinos in In the Heights saying, “That was something we talked about and it needed to be In the end, when we were looking at the cast, we tried to get the people who were best for those roles. ”
What did Rita Moreno say about the setback of In the Heights?
While appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, Moreno, who is Puerto Rican, commented on the criticism directed at Miranda. “It seems like you can never do the right thing … Can’t you wait a bit and leave it alone?” she said. “There are many people who are Puerto Rican, who are also from Guatemala, who are brown and who are also white. We are all colored in Puerto Rico. That’s right. It would be so nice if they hadn’t come with that and I left him alone, alone for now. They really are attacking the wrong person. ”
That reaction generated criticism on Twitter, with one person. writing: “I love Rita Moreno, but this is the opposite. We have had a century of movie roles reserved for the lighter skinned Latino, Black and Asian people. This is not breaking new ground and there is nothing for people dark-skinned be waiting. ”
Other cheep says, “‘Can’t you wait a while?’ ‘We are all colors in Puerto Rico!’ HUH ??? Rita Moreno, we know there are all colors, but WHY are they not accurately portrayed on TV and in movies then? We know there are Afro-Latinos in Washington Heights and it’s crazy they weren’t there. ”
Moreno then tweeted a tracing, writing: “I am incredibly disappointed in myself. In making a statement in defense of Lin-Manuel Miranda on Colbert’s show last night, I clearly underestimated the lives of blacks who matter in our Latino community. It is so easy to forget how the celebration for some it is the lament for others.
“In addition to applauding Lin for her wonderful film version of In The Heights, let me add my thanks for her sensitivity and determination to be more inclusive with the Afro-Latino community in the future.”
In the heights raised $ 11.4 million In its first four days, depending on the variety, falling behind previous expectations, it would generate $ 20 million. WarnerMedia has not shared audience numbers for the broadcasts on its HBO Max service.
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