Latinx Performance in the 21st Century
When it comes to representation for Latinx in the US film industry, Lin-Manuel Miranda stands out as one of the most varied and complex of Latinx creators working in cinema today (Mcmanus 2018; Scaletta 2021; Kawa 2021). Although he has enjoyed a blooming success through an ascending presence in Anglo-US entertainment industry, Miranda’s career as a Latinx creator runs also in parallel with current Latinx demographic shifts in the United States, specifically as we move from the late twentieth into the twenty-first century. Thus, we discern how his various roles as an actor and director complicate existing schemas or paradigms of silver-screen Latinx representation and Latinidad in contemporary film spectrum. In this essay, I assess how critical race theory concepts such as assimilation and panlatinidad are foregrounded in the mediated construction of Lin-Manuel Miranda cinematic career, negotiated and contained in the context of US Latinidad in 21st century cinema. In order to do so, this paper will focus on the concept of assimilation and mixed-race theories according to Latinx film representation. Then, I will discuss on Miranda’s panethnic understanding of Latinidad, as a way of improving the stereotypical conditions of Latinx representation in recent Hollywood. In the last part of this essay, the case study of two of his films, one as an actor (Mary Poppins Returns, 2018) and the other one as a creator/director (In the Heights, 2021) provides meaningful insight of the representation of Latinidad in contemporary US films in ways that implicitly address a crisis of racial/ethnic solidity onscreen, hence encapsulating a powerful sense of cultural equality crafted toward the representation of Latinx in US culture.