“In the Heights” is a story that has lived many lives. From its inception inside Lin Manuel Miranda’s college dorm room in 1999, to winning best musical at the 2008 Tony Awards, to finally making it to the big screen, “In the Heights” tells the story of three days in the life of a community in Washington Heights. Through the eyes of Usnavi, who owns a bodega at the heart of the neighborhood, we learn about the hopes and dreams of the many characters whose lives intersect on this one block.

Since “In the Heights” premiered on June 11, the movie has sparked a spectrum of reactions: from praise for the movie’s joyous representation of Washington Heights, to critiques that the movie falls short in its goal of representation by sidelining all dark-skinned actors to supporting roles in a movie about the largely Afro-Latinx neighborhood.

Now, as “In The Heights” hits theaters one year after its original release date, we talk to director Jon M. Chu about his own immigrant upbringing, his career in Hollywood, and the reckoning that led him to face the ongoing conversation about representation in TV and film.

Editor’s Note: On Thursday, Latino Rebels Radio (also part of Futuro Media) focused its episode on the colorism critiques surrounding the film.

Featured image by Macall Polay.


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