Rita Moreno Puerto Rican Day Parade Celebration - 2021 Tribeca Festival
Defending her friend

Rita Moreno thinks the criticism Lin-Manuel Miranda is getting for ‘In The Heights’ is unfair

“It’s like you can never do right, it seems,” she says

Rita Moreno is against all the criticism Lin-Manuel Miranda is getting after releasing the film In The Heights. “It would be so nice if they hadn‘t come up with that and left it alone, just for now,” Moreno told Stephen Colbert during The Late Show. ”They’re really attacking the wrong person.”

“It’s like you can never do right, it seems,” she says. “This is the man who has literally brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America. I couldn’t do it. I would love to say I did, but I couldn’t. Lin-Manuel has done that really single-handedly, and I’m thrilled to pieces, and I’m proud that he produced my documentary,” she added, referring to her recent documentary, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It.

After the much-awaited premiere of In The Heights, some people felt misrepresented and took social media to highlight the lack of dark-skinned Afro-Latinx people in the movie adaptation of his hit Broadway musical.

In response, Lin-Manuel issued a statement on social media, apologizing to his fans and the members of his community who don’t feel represented in the movie. “I started writing In The Heights because I didn’t feel seen,” he wrote. “And over the past 20 years, all I wanted was for us—ALL of us—to feel seen.”

Celebrity Sightings in New York City - June 20, 2019©GettyImages
Lin-Manuel Miranda seen on location for ‘In the Heights’ in Washington Heights on June 20, 2019 in New York City.

“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,” he continued, “particularly among the leading roles.” Miranda then went on to apologize, admitting they “fell short” in this aspect when making the film.

“I can hear the hurt and frustration over colorism or feeling still unseen in the feedback,” he continued. “I hear that without sufficient 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.”

“Thanks for your honest feedback,” he concluded. “I promise to do better within future projects, and I’m dedicated to learning and evolving we all have to do to make sure we are honoring our diverse and vibrant community.”

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