Well, I was wondering if this discussion would come up, and here it is . . . well, sort of.
However to say, “that’s a conversation to have” and then not have it is disingenuous! ~ V
It’s unfair to put any kind of undue burden of representation on In the Heights. There are so many millions of stories—there’s a song in Heights called ‘Hundreds of Stories,’ but there’s millions of stories—from the cultural specificities of the Puerto Rican American experience, the Dominican American experience, the Cuban American experience, and we couldn’t get our arms around all of that.
In the Heights, the major movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 Broadway musical, opened to an extremely modest box office and largely positive critical reception this weekend. But for all of the film’s themes of diversity and identity, In the Heights noticeably lacks dark-skinned Afro-Latinx performers or characters in any of the film’s major roles, of which there are many.
The only Black character in the main cast, Benny, is played by non-Latino actor Corey Hawkins, and in the musical, his character is non-Latino and viewed by Nina’s father as an outsider. Meanwhile, all of the main Latinx characters are portrayed by light-skinned and white-passing actors, which viewers have pointed out on Twitter makes for an incomplete and inaccurate depiction of Washington Heights.
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 accusations of colorism for his 2018 film, Crazy Rich Asians.
‘In the Heights’ and the Erasure of Dark-Skinned Afro-Latinxs ~ Video via The Root
Here is a good thread discussing the movie – *Spoilers*.
This is a good thread discussing the movie and highlighting other Latinos in film.
Despite the above issue being discussed as one aspect of the movie, representation in movies matters, period!
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