In The Heights colorism controversy: Rita Moreno slammed for defending Lin Manuel Miranda film

Lin Manuel Miranda's new film lacks dark-skinned Afro-Latinx representation, especially in the leading roles. Rita Moreno dismissed the concern saying, 'you can never do right, it seems'


                            In The Heights colorism controversy: Rita Moreno slammed for defending Lin Manuel Miranda film
Rita Moreno with Lin-Manuel at the ceremony honoring Lin-Manuel Miranda with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 30, 2018 in Hollywood, California (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
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Rita Moreno and Lin Manuel Miranda's friendship started on the sets of their now-canned  'One Day at a Time'. But the revered Puerto Rican actress is now facing massive Internet backlash after defending Miranda, who came under social media scrutiny for his new film 'In the Heights'. The Internet is now canceling Moreno after she asked outraged social media users to just "wait a while and leave it alone."

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Miranda is facing criticism over a colorism controversy because his new film has a distinct lack of dark-skinned Afro-Latinx representation, especially in the leading roles. The scrutiny stemmed from a video article published by The Root. In the clip, journalist Felice León asked the film's director Jon M. Chu and actors Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera and Gregory Diaz IV, “What would you say to folks who say that ‘In the Heights’ privileges white-passing and light-skinned Latinx people?” Chu replied to that: “I would say that’s a fair conversation to have. Listen, we’re not going to get everything right in a movie. We tried our best on all fronts of it.”

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When Moreno was asked during a recent appearance on 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert' about her take on the controversy, she replied “You can never do right, it seems." Further speaking about Miranda, Moreno defends the 'Hamilton' creator saying: "This is the man who literally has brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America. I couldn’t do it. I would love to say I did, but I couldn’t. Lin-Manuel has done that really singlehandedly, and I’m thrilled to pieces and I’m proud that he produced my documentary.”

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The host Stephen Colbert then asked Moreno, “So are you saying that while you may understand where people’s concerns come from, that perhaps it’s misplaced in criticizing him in this?” To which the 89-year-old actress replied: "Well I’m simply saying, can’t you just wait a while and leave it alone?” Moreno explained. “There’s a lot of people who are Puertorriqueños, 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, and it would be so nice if they hadn’t come up with that and just left it alone, just for now. I mean, they’re really attacking the wrong person.”

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Rita Moreno with Lin-Manuel Miranda (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

 

Twitter is now furious with the kind of alleged "privilege" Moreno's statement shows. While agreeing she has made a commendable contribution to entertainment, Fans are now "un-stanning" her, Twitter-speak for followers turning away from a formerly beloved celebrity for disappointing them.

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Amidst several users arguing cancel culture can't just simple target someone like Moreno, one tweeted: "'Well I’m simply saying, can’t you just wait a while and leave it alone?' - Rita Moreno This is one of the most disgusting things ever said to people wanting representation. Deplorable but I see a lot of what about us or they need to get over it nonsense from many Latinx people."

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Another user chimed in: "Rita, honey, I love you but didn’t Anita have darkened skin when you played her in “west side story” hun. (Basically what I’m saying is Rita Moreno darkened her skin for West Side Story so we she even talking about this right now.)" Another accused: "This is the language of the oppressor that silences ppl when they say they are suffering. I think Afro-Latinas and non-hispanic Black's have more than waited awhile for equal opportunity and fairness. I have always admired Rita Moreno, but this changed it for me."

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Calling out the cultural appropriation the actress has been put through: "rita moreno spent years being made to wear brown face, change her name, being oversexualized all to seem exotic, and playing roles that she shouldn't have to like tuptim in the king and i. you'd think that after so many decades, she'd want and demand better for all latinxs now." Another pointed out: "rita moreno is the LAST person to be talking bout that damn musical like when literally no one in hollywood in the 60s could recognize her without her being in brownface."

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Another user remarked: "I love how all the white latinx people like Rita Moreno and Ana Navarro are actively trying to gaslight Afro latinx for demanding visibility either be an ally for black voices or shut the hell up!" When one criticized Moreno saying "Yeah. Rita, that’s not a great response. Try again," another urged social media: "Please no 'do overs' or trying again. What we need from Rita Moreno right now is," and added a gif of Alack Rickman as Severus Snape saying "Silence." Another slammed the actress, tweeting: "Rita Moreno really a stupid bozo for saying that.." The most heartbroken were ardent fans, with one of them sharing: "Not Rita Moreno being a disappointment after I was just speaking good on her name".

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