Rita Moreno walked back her defense of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s film adaptation of “In the Heights” on Wednesday night, noting that she did agree with criticisms that the film didn’t adequately represent Afro-Latino people.
“I’m incredibly disappointed with myself. 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. It is so easy to forget how celebration for some is lament for others,” Moreno tweeted.
The Puerto Rican Oscar winner 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 – RITA.”
Critics of the film noted that lighter-skinned Latinos held leading roles and kept most of its darker-skinned cast in the background, although its set of Washington Heights is historically a largely Afro-Latino neighborhood.
The film also removed a subplot of the original musical that addressed how Afro-Latinos and Blacks in the Latino community cope with colorism and prejudice in and outside their neighborhood.
Moreno had previously said on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that she didn’t appreciate people criticizing Miranda for the way his film adaptation of the popular musical didn’t prominently feature many Afro-Latinos. Moreno also said that while Miranda apologized for the issue, she didn’t think he should have.
“You can never do right, it seems. This is a man who literally has brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America. I couldn’t do it, I mean, 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,” Moreno said, speaking of her 2021 documentary film “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It,” which came out this year.