West Side Story: Colorism Issues in 1961 Oscar Winning Movie

Rita Moreno serves as executive producer for Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story.

Some Twitter criticism pointed out that she was darkened with makeup to play the role of Anita in the 1961 film version of the Broadway musical that had won her the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

In January of 2019, Spielberg met with a town hall of locals in Puerto Rico to discuss how he’d tackle the material.  Some in attendance questioned if West Side Story perhaps took a culturally insensitive and dated approach to Puerto Rican culture.

The film, from Disney-owned 20th Century Studios with an updated screenplay by Tony Kushner, opens December 21.