Lifestyle & Entertainment

Hamilton’s creator admits his new movie whitewashes black Latinos out of the picture

The arrival of In the Heights at cinemas last week was billed as a milestone for Hollywood. It is a film with a Latino cast, set in a diverse neighbourhood and adapted from the musical of the same name by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man who told the story of a nation of immigrants in Hamilton.

“The hope for me is that in five years’ time, people will go, ‘Why was In the Heights such a big deal? We have ten Latino movies every year’,” Miranda said before its opening.

Yet now the playwright and actor has issued an apology for the film not including enough black Latino actors in the cast. “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, particularly among the leading roles,” he said. “I can hear the hurt and frustration.”

The film has been accused of colourism, a prejudice against people with darker skin tones in the same ethnic group; some people felt the film should have acknowledged colourism in the Latino community.

“Anti-blackness in Latino culture is prevalent and that could have been an honest portrayal,” one wrote on Twitter.

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Miranda, who is from Washington Heights in New York City, said he began writing In the Heights twenty years ago. It opened on Broadway in 2008. Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes, who wrote the script for the musical then adapted it into a screenplay, recruited Jon Chu to direct the film.

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