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Speaking to the Associated Press, the star said that critiques of the film’s Latino representation, specifically its lack of darker-skinned and Black Latinos, are a chance for Hollywood creatives like himself to be more considerate in their future projects.
“I think this is a good opportunity for us to hear people, for us as creatives, right?” Ramos told the AP.
Stating that he can only speak for himself, the actor shared that he saw the online criticism of the landmark film’s representation as a chance for self-reflection “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.”
Otherwise, he said, there’s no debate because “the people have spoken.”
“That’s how I feel about the debate and, you know, and I feel like there is no debate,” Ramos said. “There’s no debate about it. You know you can’t, right? Like there’s nothing to debate.”
Ramos’ comments echo the response and apology given by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the film’s producer and the music-and-lyrics writer of the Tony Award-winning musical on which the film is based.
“I started writing In the Heights because I didn’t feel seen,” Miranda wrote in a statement, which he posted to Twitter on June 14. “And over the past 20 years all I wanted was for us — ALL of us — to feel seen.”
Miranda went on to say that he’s seen the discussion around In the Heights Afro-Latin representation, that he can “hear the hurt and frustration,” and that in “trying to paint a mosaic of the community,” he fell short.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 14, 2021
“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.”
Miranda thanked critics for “their honest feedback,” before promising to do better in future projects and continue to learn and evolve.
During his AP interview, Ramos also addressed discussion around In the Heights‘ box office, stating that movie’s lower box office ignores Warner Bros.’ dual theatrical and streaming approach.
“Nobody’s ever going to talk about how many streams have gone on HBO Max,” Ramos said. “If the movie had come out in the theaters, only then who knows what the box office would have been.”
He went on to say that it because it “was available in people’s living rooms,” many people did opt to stream it, watching “it multiple times in their house.”
“That’s what happens. The box office is going to suffer if it’s available somewhere else, and it’s more convenient for people to watch in the house,” he continued.
But the Hamilton actor said that for him, what is most important is that it’s reaching people regardless of the platform and “that people see it and they feel” the movie’s message.
“At the same time, I’m not disappointed at the box office. I’m not because people are watching the movie,” Ramos said. “The most important thing to me is that people have seen the film. I don’t care how you watch it as long as you see it.”
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