The music and lyrics of Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”) came together with direction from Jon M. Chu (“Crazy Rich Asians”) for the screen adaptation of “In the Heights,” as seen in the official trailer which Miranda shared on December 11 via Twitter.
Based on the 2007 book by Quiara Alegría Hudes and Miranda’s 2008 Tony Award-winning Best Musical production, “In the Heights” is set in New York City’s predominantly Latinx neighborhood of Washington Heights. The story focuses on bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) who saves every penny made from his daily grind for a better future. In the trailer, Usnavi begins to tell “the story of a block that was slowly disappearing,” touching on issues such as gentrification and immigration. The film is slated for release on June 26, 2020, and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Watch the trailer below, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures:
Even though the cast is nearly all-Latinx and stars Marc Anthony, Dascha Polanco, Stephanie Beatriz, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera, Jimmy Smits and Olga Merediz (who also appeared in the stage production), some have commented on the serious lack of Afro-Latinx representation in the musical. It is especially noteworthy considering the film was shot heavily in Washington Heights.
“While there are a few [Afro-Latinx women] in the cast including Leslie Grace, Dasha Polanco (both of whom are Dominican) and Daphne Rubin-Vega, it would have been nice to see more,” Johanna Ferreira wrote in HipLatina on December 12. “In fact, it would have been amazing to see an [Afro-Latinx] cast as Vanessa. That’s not to say Barrera (who is Mexican) didn’t do an amazing job, but in a world where roles for Afro-Latinas, especially with brown skin and naturally curly hair, are still hard to come by, this in many ways just felt like a missed opportunity.”
Ferreira wasn’t alone in her critique, as some to took Twitter to call out the same issue:
Hmmmm….. not a single Afro Latino??? In the Heights???? In New York???? Sounds about white(washed). https://t.co/iU0O23a2aq— ?Lani Del Rey? (@Marlana) December 12, 2019
Yall getting hyped over #InTheHeightsMovie But yall fail to realize Washington Heights is dominated by Afro-Latinos and there were only 4 “Dark” Latinos that could be seen in the trailer. Stop stanning White Washed productions.— ????-??? (@jmelomanie) December 13, 2019
? Looks like Lin Manuel Miranda is only showing LIGHTSKIN /FARER Skin people in his movie musical based in the heavily populated Afro-Latino community of NYC’s Washington Heights #InTheHeightsMovie .Motive behind not showing the much DARKER SKIN people that actually lives there?— HOOD CERTIFIED (@hoodcertifiedtm) December 12, 2019