Rita Moreno ‘incredibly disappointed’ in herself for defending In the Heights amid colourism criticism

‘It is so easy to forget how celebration for some is lament for others,’ star of ‘West Side Story’ wrote

Isobel Lewis
Thursday 17 June 2021 08:56
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Rita Moreno defends Lin-Manuel Miranda over In the Heights criticism

Rita Moreno has apologised for defending the In the Heights film against accusations of colourism.

Released in the US last week, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical has faced criticism for its lack of darker-skinned Afro-Latinx actors in lead roles, despite being set in the diverse New York neighbourhood of Washington Heights.

Earlier this week, Moreno, who is best known for playing Anita in the original West Side Story film, said that criticism of Miranda “really upsets” her, adding: “You can never do right, it seems.”

However, writing on Twitter on Wednesday (17 June) night, Moreno said that she was “incredibly disappointed” in herself for her comments.

“While making a statement in defense of Lin-Manuel Miranda on the Colbert Show last night, I was clearly dismissive of black lives that matter in our Latin community,” she wrote.

“It is so easy to forget how celebration for some is lament for others.”

Moreno continued: “In addition to applauding Lin for his wonderful movie version of In the Heights, let me add my appreciation for his sensitivity and resolve to be more inclusive of the Afro-Latino community going forward.  See, you CAN teach this old dog new tricks.”

Miranda has apologised for “falling short” regarding the backlash against In the Heights’ casting, writing: “I can hear the hurt and frustration over colourism, 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.”

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