“In The Heights” Director Questioned About Lack of Darker Skinned Afro-Latinx People Cast

“In The Heights” Director Questioned About The Lack of Darker Skinned Afro-Latinx People

In the Heights is making headlines over its casting decisions.

The film was released this weekend and is an adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 Broadway musical.

According to some critics of the project, it noticeably lacks dark-skinned Afro-Latinx cast in any of the film’s major roles. The Root points out that

the only Black character in the main cast, Benny, is played by non-Latino actor Corey Hawkins, and in the musical, his character is non-Latino and viewed by Nina’s father as an outsider.

In an interview with the site, the director John M. Chu and members of the film’s cast were questioned about the lack of darker complexion Afro-Latinos.

Leslie Grace, who is Afro-Latina and plays Nina, addresses the accusations of colorism, as does Melissa Barrera, the Mexican actress who plays Vanessa. Melissa explains,

In the audition process, which was a long audition process, there were a lot of Afro-Latinos there. A lot of darker skinned people. And I think they were looking for just the right people for the roles. For the person that embodied each character in the fullest extent. Because the cast ended up being us, and because Washington Heights is a melting pot of Black and Latinx people, Jon and Lin wanted the dancers and the big numbers to feel very truthful to what the community looks like.

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Authored by: Kellie Williams