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The View in Review

Ana Navarro Dismisses In the Heights Criticism: 'It's Not a Benetton Ad'

"We shouldn't burden Lin-Manuel with the responsibility of representing every Latino," Navarro said on The View.
  • Ana Navarro insisted that Lin-Manuel Miranda's critics "cut him some slack" in the wake of the In the Heights controversy. (Photo: ABC)
    Ana Navarro insisted that Lin-Manuel Miranda's critics "cut him some slack" in the wake of the In the Heights controversy. (Photo: ABC)

    Ana Navarro is coming to Lin-Manuel Miranda's defense as controversy continues to swirl around In the Heights. On Tuesday, The View's fill-in host insisted that critics unhappy with the lack of Afro-Latino representation in Miranda's film need to "cut him some slack," as he's "showed up time and time again" for his community. "It's not a documentary. It's not a Benetton ad," said Navarro. "It's a musical, people! It's two hours."

    Over the weekend, a video of The Root's Felice León confronting In the Heights director Jon M. Chu and stars Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace and Gregory Diaz IV about the film's decision to "privilege white-passing and light-skinned Latinx people" over Afro-Latinos went viral. After a full day of discourse, Miranda finally responded to the controversy on Monday evening, writing that he hears "the hurt and frustration over colorism," and he "promise[s] to do better" in the future.

    The discussion dominated Twitter last night, so it was no surprise that it made its way to The View on Tuesday, and the co-hosts had quite a bit to say. "Yeah, there could always be more people of color. Always. That doesn't always mean that people are accessible to folks," said Whoopi Goldberg. "It's never going to be enough for any of us until it's normal, until you just see us in — dark, light — all kinds of stuff."

    Navarro chimed in to say that In the Heights is a "labor of love," and she urged those with "pent up emotion" to back off Miranda. "We shouldn't burden Lin-Manuel with the responsibility of representing every Latino, every shade, and every ethnicity and every creed in a two-hour musical," she said. "This is a musical! An attempt to show the fantasy and magic of In the Heights."

    "This is an all-Latino cast. One of the leads is an Afro-Latina, a beautiful one, who does a great job in the role," continued Navarro. "Few people have done as much as Lin-Manuel has to open up doors for people of color on Broadway and in Hollywood. He got flack for casting Black and brown people in Hamilton, and now he's getting flack for not casting dark-enough Latinos? ... Cut. Him. Some. Slack. And if you want more Latinos represented in Hollywood, go support this movie."

    After briefly urging Afro-Latinos to "audition for this movie, and movies like it," Goldberg threw the discussion to Sunny Hostin, who, unsurprisingly, had a very different take on the controversy. "I loved the movie. I, too, saw it and just was amazed at the artistry and the talent," she said. "But I am an Afro-Latina, someone who for over 50 years has been told 'I am not Latina enough' because I am Afro-Latina. Someone who has always been questioned by Latinos."

    "Latinos typically do not embrace their African roots, and that is truth. That is facts. It's an ugly fact that Latinos do not want to talk about," continued Hostin. She noted that even though she may "adore" Miranda, "he himself admitted that he missed the mark here," and the criticism is therefore warranted. You just walk through Washington Heights — then and now — it is filled with Black Dominicans, Black Puerto Ricans," she added. "The fact that there is a film about Washington Heights that doesn't show you that does miss the mark."

    Hostin concluded by saying that even though she agrees that Miranda "has been a vanguard" for Latinx representation, it's not enough. "See all of us. See people like me, embrace people like me," she said. "Latinos need to do better. They need to do better."

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    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: Ana Navarro, HBO Max, The View, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sunny Hostin