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In the Heights Title Track Feels Like a Warm Hug to This Latinx Writer

What a perfect introduction.

With every bit that comes out about the In the Heights movie, I realize that I’m not even remotely ready for what’s to come. I thought I was, and I thought I knew what this music and this movie would mean to me as a Latina. Then, Warner Bros. Entertainment had to go and drop the titled track of In the Heights and open up pre-orders for the entire album.

Now I can’t help but feel like In the Heights is going to be a warm hug the likes I haven’t experienced before in a film. Sure, I had One Day at a Time for the small screen, but I can’t name off the top of my head the last movie I watched with a Latinx cast and set of characters that filled me with so much joy. And that right there is sad. I shouldn’t have to struggle so much to think of an answer.

Listening to this soundtrack, getting to know Anthony Ramos character Usnavi, and understanding the kind of community he’s part of feels real. And in the title song, we’re introduced to Abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz), cab company owner Kevin Rosario (Jimmy Smits), salon duo Daniela and Carla (Daphne Rubin-Vega and Stephanie Beatriz), and Benny (Corey Hawkins).

Lin-Manuel Miranda in particular, the brilliant mind behind the stage version of In the Heights, gave me feels as the piragua seller of Washington Heights. Forget ice cream; this was what you had on a hot day in Puerto Rico. And Usnavi completed that feels train by offering Kevin “pan caliente, café con leche,” something my relatives had every single morning.

A part of me is also really happy that the title track of In the Heights is doing so well across the board. For those in the community, they’re freaking out at the rich story told through this music. And for those that aren’t part of the Latinx community but are still enjoying In the Heights, I see you and I hope that you bring that same energy when it comes to the release of this movie.

I beg of fans to do that and more with this new movie and the upcoming adaptation of West Side Story. Because the sad truth is that no matter how seen and represented this film or title song makes me feel, it’s all about money. And studios are waiting to see if the film kills it and if the soundtrack does, too. So, pre-order or save to your Spotify, mi gente. In the Heights needs our support, and I for one am ready to do just that.

In the Heights will stream on HBO Max on June 11th.

(image: Macall Polay/Warner Bros. Entertainment)

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Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.