Lin-Manuel Miranda on 'In the Heights' Backlash: 'You Can't Control How the World Receives Something'

“It’s not cancellation. That’s having opinions,” Miranda said of the backlash regarding the movie adaptation of In the Heights

Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Lin-Manuel Miranda is addressing his critics.

In a new profile by The New Yorker, the Tony winner, 41, was asked about the backlash his movie adaptation of In the Heights received for lacking in Afro-Latino representation.

"Once something has success, you're not the underdog trying to make it happen anymore," Miranda said when the controversy was brought up. "You have to graduate past the mind-set of, like, It's a miracle I got something on the stage. Because now that is expected of me. And people go, 'Yeah, but what about this? And what about this?' And that's fair! I do that with art I find lacking."

He continued, "It's not cancellation. That's having opinions. So I try to take it in that spirit."

Miranda, who has now directed the film adaptation of Jonathan Larson's musical Tick, Tick...Boom, added, "At the end of the day, you can't control how the world receives something. All you can control is what your intentions were."

in the heights
Macall Polay

In June, Miranda apologized for the allegations of colorism in a tweet after In the Height's release, writing in part, "I can hear the hurt and frustration over colorism, of feeling unseen in the feedback. 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."

"I'm truly sorry," he wrote. "I'm learning from the feedback, I thank you for raising it, and I'm listening. I'm trying to hold space for both the incredible pride in the movie we made and be accountable for our shortcomings. Thanks for your honest feedback. I promise to do better in my future projects, and I'm dedicated to the learning and evolving we all have to do to make sure we are honoring our diverse and vibrant community. Siempre, LMM."

Tick, Tick…Boom! was written by Larson in 1990 and follows an aspiring composer named Jon (Andrew Garfield) in New York City as he fears he has made the wrong career choice to be an artist.

Larson is best known as the creator of Rent. He died on Jan. 25, 1996, at the age of 35 on the morning of the musical's first preview off-Broadway.

For his work on Rent, Larson was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and three Tony Awards for best musical, best book of a musical and best original score.

Tick, Tick... Boom is in select theaters and on Netflix on Nov. 19.

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