In the Heights marked the return of movie musicals to the big screen this past weekend, but some viewers criticized the film for a lack of dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation among the lead cast.
The musical's creator, composer, and original star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, responded to the criticism Monday on Twitter.
"I started writing In the Heights because I didn't feel seen," he wrote. "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 in it, particularly among the leading roles."
Macall Polay/Warner Bros.; Inset: John Shearer/Getty Images Anthony Ramos and Melissa Barrera in 'In the Heights'
He continued, "I can hear the hurt and frustration over colorism, of feeling still 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. In wanting to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short."
Saying he was "truly sorry," Miranda concluded, "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."
The film's director, Jon M. Chu, was asked about Black Latinx representation in the movie in a recent interview with The Root. While he admitted it was something "he needed to be educated about," Chu said that "in the end, when we were looking at the cast, we tried to get the people who were best for those roles."
The clip went viral, with many criticizing Chu for his response.