Rita Moreno admitted that she was "dismissive" of the Black Latinx community while defending "In the Heights" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has faced backlash over the underrepresentation of Afro-Latinos in the new film.
On Tuesday, during an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," the actress dropped remarks that suggested perhaps the topic of colorism and the criticism of the film best be left alone. On Wednesday, she backtracked on her comments in a statement posted on Twitter.
"I'm incredibly disappointed with myself. While making a statement in defense of Lin-Manuel Miranda on the Colbert Show last night, I was clearly dismissive of Black lives that matter in our Latin community. It is so easy to forget how celebration for some is lament for others," Moreno said.
"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," she continued.
"See, you CAN teach this old dog new tricks - RITA," the Oscar winner concluded.
Speaking with Colbert on Tuesday about the colorism criticism Miranda faced, Moreno said, "You can never do right, it seems," according to People.
"This is the man who literally has brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America. I couldn't do it. I would love to say I did, but I couldn't,” she continued. “Lin-Manuel has done that really singlehandedly and I'm thrilled to pieces, and I'm proud that he produced my documentary ("Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It")."
When asked by Colbert whether or not she thought the criticism against Miranda was "misplaced," Moreno replied, "I'm simply saying, 'Can't you just wait a while and leave it alone?'"
She said that there are "a lot of people who are Puertorriqueño, who are also from Guatemala, who are dark and who are also fair," adding that "we are all colors in Puerto Rico."
"This is how it is, and it would be so nice if they hadn't come up with that and left it alone, just for now," she continued. "I mean, they're really attacking the wrong person."
Earlier this week, Miranda apologized amid a wave of criticism. Many had taken issue with the fact that there was a distinct lack of dark-skinned actors in lead roles in the film.
"I can hear the hurt and frustration over colourism, of feeling still unseen in the feedback," he wrote in a lengthy statement on Twitter. "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 noted that, without "sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the work feels extractive of the community" they wanted to represent in the film.
"In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short. I'm truly sorry. I'm learning from the feedback, I thank you for raising it, and I'm listening," Miranda added. "I'm learning from the feedback, I thank you for raising it, and I'm listening."
Concluding the statement, Miranda promised to "do better in my future projects," explaining that he was "dedicated to the learning and evolving" that needed to happen "to make sure we are honoring our diverse and vibrant community."
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