Until it was released, Jon Chu’s “In the Heights” looked like it was going to be a big hit.
Then, it was released.
Over the weekend, the film was a huge disappointment at the box office with just $11.4 million. The soundtrack album sold only 5,600 copies on Friday and Saturday including streaming, CDs, and paid downloads.
First there was apathy toward “In the Heights.” Then came hostility. The Latinx community is angry with the musical’s creator, Lin Manuel Miranda, because they feel that dark skinned Latinx people are not represented well in the film. An article in The Root states the complaints, which are aplenty on social media.
Miranda has responded on Twitter. He says in the future he’ll try and do better. I’m no expert on this, but one question might be: Why did an Asian American direct a Latinx project? Wouldn’t a Latinx director have been more sensitive to these issues?
Miranda, who’s as sensitive and “woke” as anyone, Tweeted:
“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. 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 still unseen in the feedback. I hear that without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the work feels extractive of the community we wanted so much to represent with pride and joy. In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short. I’m truly sorry. I’m learning from the feedback, I thank you for raising it, and I’m listening.”
“I’m trying to hold space both for the indelible pride in the movie we made and be accountable for our shortcomings. Thanks 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.”
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 14, 2021