Defending musical author Lin-Manuel Miranda, she said, "This is the man who literally has brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America."
Rita Moreno responded to critiques that musical adaptation In the Heights failed to represent Washington Heights’ Afro-Latino population in remarks made on Tuesday (June 15). In a guest appearance on The Late Show, the Puerto Rican actor defended Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the music and lyrics of the original musical upon which the film is based and also produced and starred in the film.
Moreno said the criticism, which has focused on the dearth of darker-skinned Afro-Latinx characters in the movie, “really upsets me.” (Miranda co-produced Moreno’s documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It.) She continued, “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. Lin-Manuel has done that, really single-handedly and I was thrilled to pieces and I’m proud that he produced my documentary.”
When host Stephen Colbert asked her if she was saying that she understood the critiques but that the criticism was misplaced in focusing on Miranda, Moreno responded, “Well, I’m simply saying, can’t you just wait a while and leave it alone? There’s a lot of people who are Puerto Rican who are also from Guatemala who are dark and who are also fair. We are all colors in Puerto Rico. This is how it is. It would be so nice if they hadn’t come up with that and left it alone, just for now. They’re really attacking the wrong person.”