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Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jon M. Chu respond to In the Heights Colorism 


BUtterfield 8

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BUtterfield 8

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The Root’s Felice León addressed these concerns in an interview with In the Heights director John M. Chu and members of the film’s cast on Wednesday, June 9. “As a Black woman of Cuban descent, specifically from New York City,” León, who is a Black New Yorker of Cuban descent, asks Chu, “What would you say to folks who say that In the Heights privileges white-passing and light-skinned Latinx people?” Chu says, “I would say that that’s a fair conversation to have,” but doesn’t proceed to fully have it. Chu also faced accusationsof colorism for his 2018 film, Crazy Rich Asians.

Leslie Grace, who is Afro-Latina and plays Nina, diplomatically addresses the colorism at play in this film and Hollywood at large, saying, “I didn’t realize until making this movie that I didn’t really get to see myself or people that looked like my siblings, that are darker than me, onscreen.” She adds, “I hope that this is cracking that glass ceiling. Because I do hope to see my brothers and sisters that are darker than me lead these movies.”

Melissa Barrera, the Mexican actress who plays Vanessa, chimes in, saying, “In the audition process, which was a long audition process, there were a lot of Afro-Latinos there. A lot of darker skinned people. And I think they were looking for just the right people for the roles. For the person that embodied each character in the fullest extent,” clarifying, “Because the cast ended up being us, and because Washington Heights is a melting pot of Black and Latinx people, Jon and Lin wanted the dancers and the big numbers to feel very truthful to what the community looks like.” Chu also points León to diversity among the background dancers, which kind of just proves León’s point.

On Monday, In the Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who appears in the film version of his stage musical as Washington Heights’s resident piragüero, posted a statement to Twitter apologizing for a lack of dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation in the work.

“I started writing In The Heightsbecause I didn’t feel seen,” he says. “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. 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 world 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,” Miranda continues. “I’m truly sorry. 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. Thank you 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. Siempre, LMM.”

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I’m sorry but this may sound rude, but Latin representation that looks like me is FAR LESS than African American, Afro Latin, and in general dark skinned POC’s. Let’s us have a damn movie for once 

Call me racist if you want I don’t give a single damn but Latin people that look like me (brown skinned but not dark skinned or light skinned) barely get ANY representation and if we do it’s a stereot

The way that actual latin people, especially Mexicans, are calling her out rn. Apparently representation only matters for dark skinned people in the community. As someone who is brown but not dar

Ziggy

I mean...didn't the stage show have this problem, too?...it isn't just a problem with the movie. It runs a little deeper. oy.

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TimisaMonster

This is the case with all casting WW...having light skin means you'll get casted waaaaaaaay more easily than darker skinned people...

Hollywood...Bollywood...Asian films...etc

Stream my new single, 💜"Heartbeat"💜, on Spotify!
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JusKeepBreathin

It's so weird to have people say Jimmy Smits is "white passing." 

I do understand and I think we should address the fact that this doesn't have a full representation of an afro-caribbean actors except for Graffiti Pete I'm pretty sure he is of latin decent. 

But to call this cast "white passing" is disrespectful within itself. 

Latin immigrants won't ever have the American dream until they raise kids that sound more "American." 

For example I am 1,000,000% sure that The Root doesn't not employ a single Latino with a heavy Spanish accent to conduct onscreen interviews. 

As a matter of fact probably the only actresses with a thick Spanish accent that people remember are type cast as the "sexy bombshell" or "the maid."

 

Edited by JusKeepBreathin
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -Martin Luther King Jr.
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VenusHooker
1 hour ago, TimisaMonster said:

This is the case with all casting WW...having light skin means you'll get casted waaaaaaaay more easily than darker skinned people...

Hollywood...Bollywood...Asian films...etc

Here in Mexico, for example, it happens in telenovelas, TV series, etc. Most of the protagonists are light-skinned. 

https://youtube.com/channel/UCkoVPU-0FpeqGdxnHVrK15Q
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weed
3 hours ago, BUtterfield 8 said:

Chu says, “I would say that that’s a fair conversation to have,” but doesn’t proceed to fully have it.

I love this journalist!

and I think Lin had a much more nuanced answer. 

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Chaymie

It's everywhere. I'm from a South East Asian country, so most of us are naturally tanned or brown-skinned. But 90% of our successful and popular lead actors, actresses and models are all light skinned that resemble East Asians (Korean, Chinese, Japanese). 

Chaymie
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BUtterfield 8

I’m so confused as to why a Latino director didn’t direct this film?

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ProfessionalClown

Did they even watch the movie? There was a lot of diversity from what I remember. I mean a LOT of the people weren’t “white passing”. A lot of them reminded me of family I have here in the US and Mexico, friends, etc who are also Latino. 
 

Theres a lot of dark skinned characters and dancers/background characters. So I’m not really sure 

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ProfessionalClown
8 minutes ago, Space Cowboy said:

Mess of a movie anyway :whitney:

I watched it last night and it was literally one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time 

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Space Cowboy
1 minute ago, ProfessionalClown said:

I watched it last night and it was literally one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time 

so?

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ProfessionalClown

The way that actual latin people, especially Mexicans, are calling her out rn. Apparently representation only matters for dark skinned people in the community.

As someone who is brown but not dark skinned it’s amazing seeing people who look like me in a bit movie like this. I saw people that looked like my nana, my Tia, my tios, my mom, me, my friends, all that. I saw people that looked like me for once in a long time. Apparently its “not good enough” like???

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ProfessionalClown
1 minute ago, Space Cowboy said:

so?

Space cowboy really got an ego ever since Christmas tree huh

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Space Cowboy
3 minutes ago, ProfessionalClown said:

Space cowboy really got an ego ever since Christmas tree huh

Fa la la la la La La La La :ohwell:

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