Rita Moreno Responds To "In The Heights" Lack Of Dark-Skinned Afro-Latino Actors

    "I mean, they're really attacking the wrong person."

    In the days since Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights hit theaters, the movie's casting has sparked backlash.

    Luis A. Miranda, Vanessa Nadal, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Luz Towns-Miranda at arrivals for IN THE HEIGHTS Premiere at 2021 Tribeca Festival Opening Night, United Palace Theatre in Washington Heights, New York, NY June 9, 2021

    Many viewers are upset that the film lacked dark-skinned Afro-Latinx actors.

    I won't watch In The Heights. Why are AfroLatinas who look like me excluded from the lead? Have y'all ever been to Washington Heights? We're not all White Adjacent. When will they stop erasing us? Representation matters. Our Black is beautiful y somos Latinas tambien.

    @lynnv378 / HBO Max / Via Twitter: @lynnv378

    Miranda apologized, writing on Twitter, "I can hear the hurt and frustration over colorism, 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."

    @lin_manuel / Via Twitter: @Lin_Manuel

    "I'm truly sorry," he continued. "I'm learning from the feedback, and I thank you for raising it, and I'm listening. I'm trying to hold space for both the incredible pride in the movie we made and be accountable for our shortcomings."

    Actor/playwright/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda speaks onstage before a free screening of "In the Heights" at United Palace Theater on June 10, 2021 in New York City

    And now, beloved Boricua actor Rita Moreno has addressed the situation.

    Rita Moreno speaks during the Rita Moreno Puerto Rican Day Parade Celebration during the 2021 Tribeca Festival on June 13, 2021 in New York City

    "Can we talk for a second about that criticism about Lin-Manuel Miranda? That really upsets me," Moreno addressed Stephen Colbert while visiting The Late Show. "He also co-produced my documentary."

    "It’s like you can never do right, it seems. This is the 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."

    Rita Moreno speaks during the 2021 Tribeca Festival Premiere of "Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It" at Pier 76 on June 12, 2021 in New York City

    "Lin-Manuel has done that, really, single-handedly, and I’m thrilled to pieces, and I’m proud that he produced my documentary [2021's Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It]," she said.

    Actress Rita Moreno speaks at Lin-Manuel Miranda Star Ceremony held On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on November 30, 2018 in Hollywood, California

    Stephen Colbert jumped in and asked for clarification. "Are you saying that while you may understand where people's concerns come from, perhaps it's misplaced in criticizing him in this?"

    "I'm simply saying, why can't you just wait a while and leave it alone?" she continued. "There's a lot of people who are puertorriqueño, who are also from Guatemala, who are dark, and who are also fair. We are all colors in Puerto Rico. And this is how it is."

    Rita Moreno  and Lin-Manuel Miranda attend the ceremony honoring Lin-Manuel Miranda with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 30, 2018 in Hollywood, California

    "It would be so nice if they hadn't come up with that and left it alone, just for now. I mean, they're really attacking the wrong person," she concluded.

    Rita Moreno and Lin-Manuel Miranda (C) speak at a Unity for Puerto Rico rally at the Lincoln Memorial on November 19, 2017 in Washington, DC

    You can watch the interview here.

    View this video on YouTube

    The Late Show with Stephen Colbert / Via youtube.com