In The Heights star Anthony Ramos responds to colourism controversy

·3-min read
Photo credit: Taylor Hill - Getty Images
Photo credit: Taylor Hill - Getty Images

In the Heights star Anthony Ramos has responded to the recent colourism controversy surrounding the movie.

While the film has been well-received critically, it has come under fire for the lack of Afro-Latinx representation in lead roles, something that musical co-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has responded to.

Ramos, who plays the lead role of Usnavi de la Vega has now weighed in on the backlash, indicating that he was taking on board what has been said.

Photo credit: Taylor Hill - Getty Images
Photo credit: Taylor Hill - Getty Images

Related: In the Heights casting backlash is a bigger issue than you realise

"I think this is a good opportunity for us to hear people, for us as creatives, right?" he told the Associated Press. "I can only speak on behalf of myself.

"For me, as a creative, to say ok, when I make my stuff, when I keep going as a creative, 'How do I see how we did, what did we do good and what do we do — where [did] we miss a mark, and how can I make sure that I learn from the times that we might have missed a mark before.'

"That's how I feel about the debate and, you know, and I feel like there is no debate," Ramos added. "There's no debate about it. You know you can't, right? Like there's nothing to debate."

Photo credit: Macall Polay - Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Macall Polay - Warner Bros.

For his part, Miranda admitted his regret and promised to "do better in [his] future projects".

"I started writing In the Heights because I didn't feel seen," he said on Twitter. "And over the past 20 years all I wanted was for us – ALL of us – to feel seen.

"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, particularly among the leading roles.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

"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 the community, we fell short. I'm truly sorry."

Miranda added: "I'm learning from the feedback, 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.

"Thanks for your honest feedback. I promise to do better in my future projects, and I'm dedicated to the learning and evolving we all have to do to make sure we are honouring our diverse and vibrant community."

In the Heights is out now in UK and US cinemas and on HBO Max in the US.

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