Via TMZ. The best line here: “You’re the guy who made the founding fathers black and Hispanic!”
It’s funny ’cause it’s true. If there’s any figure in popular entertainment whom you might think would be absolved by wokesters for a venial sin of not being “inclusive” enough, it’s Lin-Manuel Miranda. His most famous work does indeed use minority actors to portray the likes of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and Aaron Burr. And before “Hamilton” there was “In the Heights,” his musical about the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. Washington Heights is home to many Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, a reality reflected in the casting of the stage production and in the new movie version that was just released. Miranda’s only 41 but can already plausibly claim to have done more to mainstream racial diversity in American musical theater than most people in the history of this country.
Not good enough for some. It turns out that, while most of the cast of “In the Heights” is Latino and one of the leads is African-American, there aren’t many (any?) Afro-Latino actors involved. Thus did a major triumph of minority representation onscreen become an occasion for Miranda to issue the latest groveling, half-sincere apology for being exclusionary:
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 14, 2021
That’d be bad enough on its own. But it turns out that an even bigger Latino legend of American theater got sucked into this idiocy and felt obliged to issue her own apology. Rita Moreno was on Stephen Colbert’s show a few nights ago and was asked how she felt about Miranda getting dinged over the lack of Afro-Latino cast members. “Well I’m simply saying, can’t you just wait a while and leave it alone?” she replied. “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.”
The next day she apologized:
In addition to applauding Lin for his wonderful movie version of In The Heights, let me add my appreciation for his sensitivity and resolve to be more inclusive of the Afro-Latino community going forward. See, you CAN teach this old dog new tricks – RITA
— Rita Moreno (@TheRitaMoreno) June 17, 2021
The line “I’m incredibly disappointed with myself” is an instant classic of this genre, capturing the forced-confession “struggle session” nature of the process. No human being is genuinely “incredibly disappointed” in themselves over an opinion they held five minutes before. Rita Moreno didn’t gain enlightenment about the importance of ethnic diversity in Latino casting literally overnight at the age of 89. But this is what she, or her representatives, felt obliged to say.
Why they felt that way, I have no idea. If anyone were in a position to tell wokesters to f*** off, it’s an EGOT winner who’s been working in the business for nearly 80 years. What are they gonna do, cancel her?
I can only assume it was a legacy thing. Imagine having to worry about your obituary including a line about your “insensitivity” to Afro-Latinos before it mentions the fact that you won the Oscar for “West Side Story.”
Here’s Maher saying all that really needs to be said.