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Lin-Manuel Miranda Issues Apology After In the Heights Criticism Over Lack of Afro-Latinx Representation

In the Heights latest trailer.

Lin-Manuel Miranda has issued an apology after In the Heights faced backlash over its lack of Afro-Latinx representation. He started off the apology by clarifying that he’s worked over the past 20 years to be seen in the media we consume. Unfortunately, in doing that, he essentially neglected a portion of our Latinx community that isn’t sufficiently represented.

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Miranda also went on to mention that “in trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short.” He apologized for his shortcoming, promised to learn more, and wanted to hold space to acknowledge the good of In the Heights while still being held accountable for the things they missed out on doing.

I’m glad to see that his apology is to the point, acknowledges that he missed the mark, and promises to be better, but it’s not my job to accept this apology as a White Latina. This isn’t about me, and the amount of White Latinos “forgiving” Miranda boggles the mind. We cannot and should not be the ones telling Miranda that it’s ok and that we know he tried. It’s not our place, and the sooner White Latinx people realize that, the better.

Secondly, this shouldn’t have been a surprise to Miranda and the rest of the people behind In the Heights. Concerns about the casting choices were something that was brought up at least back in 2020, and it’s my understanding that the problem already came up during the original run of the actual play. So, for many, this apology falls short in 2021 and is a little too late now that the movie is complete and airing on HBO Max and in theaters.

And finally, critiquing or not accepting Miranda’s apology is not hating on In the Heights. It’s asking for more from those that have the power to create content for a whole community. And in many ways, it’s asking the bare minimum, because Afro-Latinx people have been part of the Latinx community forever, and people are done with having to wait for representation or hear excuses as to why they’re not included in the content they consume.

As White Latinos, the only job that we have right now when it comes to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s apology is to take a step back and let those Afro-Latinx voices speak while supporting them and the concerns they have. That’s the way that we make meaningful change and support those who have suffered through disparities when it comes to the kind of Latinx person who graces our screens. And that’s how we learn, hopefully, to never make this kind of mistake again.

(image: Macall Polay/Warner Bros. Entertainment)

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Lyra Hale
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.

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