Did Lin-Manuel Miranda really need to apologize for ‘In the Heights’ casting?
Comedian and TV host Bill Maher came to the defense of Lin-Manuel Miranda last Friday when he pleaded on his show to the Hamilton creator to “stop the apologizing”. Of course, this is in reference to the latest film incarnation of a Broadway musical, In The Heights, which was originally written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and has been condemned by many for not casting more dark-skinned latinos in the film.
“You’re the guy who made the founding fathers Black and Hispanic,” Bill Maher pleaded to the camera in hopes that his message would reach Lin-Manuel Miranda. “I don’t think you have to apologize to Twitter. I mean he’s a Latino making a Latino movie with a Latino cast. Not good enough. Nothing is ever good enough for these people. They’re like children. We don’t raise our children right and it’s reflected in the media.”
We believe that many people are on the side of Bill Maher, and do not fault Lin-Manuel Miranda nor In the Heights’ effort to portray a diverse community filled with wonderful storytelling. That being said, Lin-Manuel Miranda took to his social media last week to apologize nonetheless, possibly to get ahead of cancel culture and avoid the media circus that would’ve come had he stayed silent. Did you get a chance to read his statement?
Miranda, who wrote the music and lyrics for the musical with the book written by Quiara Alegría Hudes, wrote the following sentiment on Twitter: “I started writing In The Heights because I didn’t feel seen. And over the past 20 years all I wanted was for us – ALL of us – to feel seen.”
He continued: “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.”
Miranda concluded: “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.”
Other 2021 musicals
Broadway musicals have always tried to find a way to integrate races and inspire audiences to believe in equality. While In The Heights certainly had hoped they had properly portrayed this notion, it is clear that their efforts didn’t resonate with some. Luckily, In The Heights is only the first live-action adaptation of a Broadway musical to come out this year. We have three more to look forward to!
Fans of the musical genre can still look forward to a variety of Broadway movie musicals coming out in 2021, including Tick, Tick . . . Boom!, Dear Evan Hansen, and West Side Story, which will serve as Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut in the musical genre and will likely seek out the audience’s support for themes regarding diversity much like In The Heights. But don’t worry, people will find something to gripe about regardless!
We support Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights, and understand this creator’s craving for taking creative risks that represent a slew of diverse communities, and hope that, regardless of what you may have thought of In The Heights, that you’ll see this too. After all, if we’re going to cancel Lin-Manuel Miranda, then maybe Tom Hanks really is next? Let’s just stop canceling altogether, yeah?
What were your thoughts regarding In The Heights? Do you believe that Lin-Manuel Miranda should’ve apologized? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.