'In The Heights' Director, Cast Respond To Colorism, Film's Lack Of Afro-Latinx Representation
Photo Credit: Macall Polay
Film

'In The Heights' Director, Cast Respond To Colorism, Film's Lack Of Afro-Latinx Representation

The film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's acclaimed musical In the Heights is out now and prior to release, it received mostly acclaim from critics.

In the Heights, which currently holds a rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, opened to a gross of $11 million at the box office this weekend. However, the film, which stars Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace and Melissa Barrera, has also been the subject of fair criticism.


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Despite its title, In The Heights has been criticized for its lack of Afro-Latinx actors and actresses in the film. It's a tad bad ironic, considering the neighborhood which it is based in and named after, Washington Heights, has a predominant population of darker-skinned Afro-Latinx people.

Folks on Twitter have been vocal about their disdain for the lack of appropriate Afro-Latinx representation in the film as most of the Latinx actors are light-skinned or white-passing

In an interview with The Root's Felice León, director John M. Chu addressed the discourse regarding the film's erasure of dark-skinned Afro-Latinx people, noting that it is "a fair conversation to have." Though he recognized the problem, Chu said the actors chosen were the "best for the role." 

Barerra said, "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."

Grace, an Afro-Latina actress in the film, spoke on her desire to see more dark-skinned Afro-Latinx people represented in film. “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. 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.”

Watch the full interview below:

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