Entertainment

Jorge Diaz Is All About Owning Your Latino Identity

You might remember Jorge Diaz from “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” or as Paulie on “East Los High.” Now, Diaz lends his voice to Disney’s “Elena of Avalor” as Gabe and he couldn’t be more excited to me a part of the cast for a show featuring the first Latina Disney princess. mitú spoke with Diaz about being a Latino in media and being part of bringing the first Disney Latina princess to life.

Jorge Diaz has built a solid career telling stories of Latinos from a Latino point of view, but that was not his intention.

Jorge Diaz / Facebook
CREDIT: Jorge Diaz / Facebook

“I kind of consider myself a blue collar actor. I’m not just here to tell stories like, ‘Who wants to hire me? I’m here to tell your story.’ It just happened to be that case [of doing several Latino stories] which is, now looking back at it, it’s been pretty beautiful to be part of these projects that are pioneering new faces that you don’t see in the media too often,” Diaz told mitú. “To be part of ‘Elena of Avalor,’ I remember as soon as I read that, the first Latina Disney princess, I was like, ‘Woah. That sounds amazing. It’s about time. I hope I get to be a part of it.’ Now, here I am.”

“I just look for projects that ring true to my heart and if it’s a story I want to tell,” Diaz told mitú.


Diaz feels like “Elena of Avalor” is one of those projects. As a Latino in media, Diaz is proud of his name and of the work he has done to get more new faces on the screens.

For Diaz, “Elena of Avalor” is more than just a kid’s show, it’s validation for an entire group of people who have not been prominently featured in media.

I'm a toy! ? #elenaofavalor

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“Suddenly, your experience becomes normal and accepted,” Diaz told mitú about the importance of young Latinxs watching the show. “If you see something like them eating pozole or them mention tamales and they’re doing posadas in the episode then it’s just like what we do. Suddenly the psychological effect it has on children is that their experience is completely normal and they are good enough and they are enough and who you are is beautiful.”

And a huge part of his pride comes from the dolls because of what they represent in the grand scheme of things.


Diaz remembers seeing the Doll Test video that went viral on Facebook. The video, if you haven’t seen it, shows young children at a table with a white doll and a black doll. They were asked which was bad and which was nice and many of the children chose the darker doll as the bad one. But now, with “Elena of Avalor” dolls, Diaz thinks things are changing.

“Now I see this doll when I go into the Disney store and I see it all around, and it’s not just for Latina children. It’s for a little boy. Like, this little 10 year old white boy was like, ‘That’s my favorite show, man,'” Diaz recalled to mitú. “Seeing this little brown doll up there that’s gorgeous, that’s a leader, that’s compassionate, that’s thoughtful and has a beautiful family and is courageous. That’s what it’s about. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about and it’s a reminder to me and it’s a reminder to other artists that we have the ability to tell these stories and to have it have a beautiful effect on the next generation.”

This is something he credits several other actors and entertainers before him, especially Gina Rodriguez.

Happy birthday to this lil magical pumpkin unicorn being of Light @hereisgina ????

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“A woman I really respect and she happens to be one of my best friends is Gina Rodriguez,” Diaz told mitú. “She’s done so much just in the past two years and her career has taken off, but what she’s going to do is going to be so beautiful and she’s handled it with such grace. To be the lead of a series, it’s crazy hours. It’s insane hours and she handled it with such grace and she’s so warm to every single person on set, outside, on the street. She carries herself with so much love, so much grace, so much professionalism, so much class and it really inspired me.”

But Diaz doesn’t forget to remember and thank actors from the generation before him who really did break down walls.

Guys, so I'm a DISNEY Character. I know right!?! Although I may only be 1/4 a stud that this dude is, I've always had childhood dreams of voicing cartoons, and this is finally premiering TOMORROW! So grab all the kids in your fam and watch tomorrow night because (1) it's SO adorable & fun (2) there's amazing songs & music you'll be singing all week long (yes, you will be hearing me sing this season ? watch out, Michael Buble) (3) there's a SHLOAD of AWESOME people behind this & amazing humans guest starring all season long aaaand (4) because it's The FIRST LATINA PRINCESS EVER!!! And she's empowering & relatable & positive & a leader. What a great image for young girls everywhere, right??? So, Tomorrow on @disneychannel #ElenaOfAvalor #Disney #DisneyChannel ?

A post shared by Jorge Diaz (@iamjorgediaz) on


“I am friends with so many of those actors that are like 10-15 years older than me, and they’re just like, ‘You know, this isn’t my real name, by the way. I had to change my name because I was tired of playing gang members, I was tired of playing a prostitute, I was tired of playing a maid.’ I was like, ‘Wow. I didn’t know that,’” Diaz told mitú. “My name is Jorge Eduardo Diaz. That’s as Latino as they come and I can’t change that. Part of me, when I was younger, I was thinking about that because I was like, ‘Should I change my name? Should I just make it George D. or something like that.’ That came across my mind but then I was like, ‘No, man.’ I’m just going to do this and I’m going to do it as Jorge Eduardo Diaz.”

And he has some advice for any other Latinxs considering a career in entertainment.


“The advice I have for anyone trying to pursue acting, you really have to fall in love with the art of it. If you’re trying to be famous, if you’re kind of attracted to celebrity life or what you see on TV, it’s all fake glamor,” Diaz told mitú. “Just train and put yourself out there. Know that your time will come ultimately. I’ve been doing this for years before I got to a point where I was working consistently. Right now is such a beautiful time in the industry. There are going to be more and more doors opening and there are more artists coming up and they are opening more doors and I feel like it’s going to continue to change.”


READ: ‘Elena Of Avalor’s’ Big Secret Will Finally Be Revealed In This Flick

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Lawmakers Want To Include ‘Selena’ In The National Film Registry

Entertainment

Lawmakers Want To Include ‘Selena’ In The National Film Registry

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“Selena” is one of the most influential and impactful movies of our generation. We all remember watching Jennifer Lopez embody the Tejana queen of music. The 1997 biopic is a classic and there is finally talk of including it in the National Film Registry.

“Selena” is one of the most impactful movies of our childhoods.

The 1997 movie was something that we watched over and over when we were younger. We sang the songs and basically learned all of the lines of this movie. It is arguably one of the first times we saw our culture and one of our icons’ stories told for the masses.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is pushing for “Selena” to officially be recognized.

Movies are a crucial part of telling the full story of American life. The National Film Registry is a list of movies that are honored for their cultural impact. “Real Women Have Curves,” “West Side Story,” and “Zoot Suit” are all part of the National Film Registry. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, is the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and wrote a letter asking for the consideration of “Selena.”

“As a next step, we also wish to formally nominate the 1997 film ‘Selena’ for inclusion in the National Film Registry in 2021,” reads the letter. “Directed by Gregory Nava and starring Jennifer Lopez and Edward James Olmos, the film depicts the life, remarkable rise, and tragic death of Tejana music star Selena Quintanilla.”

There is a lot of hope that the Library of Congress will make this happen.

Selena represents that first major and successful jumps from the Latino market to the mainstream that many of us can remember. We finally had someone who looked like us and understood our cultural struggles in a real way. Our story was being told and the film about the music icon was so important in guiding some of us through our own cultural struggles.

“The film also touches on important themes of cultural identity and assimilation faced by Mexican American communities as they navigate their personal connections to two cultures and languages,” the letter continues to explain. “The film has become a beloved icon of Latino culture and has found widespread mainstream success, proving once and for all that Latino stories are American stories.”

Selena is the kind of cultural phenomenon that comes once in a lifetime.

The singer was able to build an impressive legacy that has endured for longer than she was alive. We were raised with her music and told her story over and over to keep us all tuned in to the fact that we could do anything. If Selena could break into the mainstream audience, we could all be that successful.

“Given its importance as a work of Latino cinema, we believe it is deserving of preservation at the Library of Congress. We trust you will give ‘Selena’ careful consideration, and hope to see it included in the titles added to the National Film Registry in 2021,” Rep. Castro further explains in the letter. “We also expect to identify other films which feature the American Latino experience and urge you to devote careful consideration to Latino films when considering films for the registry as well.”

Here’s hoping that “Selena” gets the official recognition it clearly deserves.

We all have our fingers crossed that this movie will earn its place in the National Film Registry because it deserves that kind of praise.

READ: Part 2 Of “Selena: The Series” Has Already Finished Filming And Here’s Everything We Know About The Next Season

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Here Are The Shows And Movies We Couldn’t Get Enough Of In 2020

Entertainment

Here Are The Shows And Movies We Couldn’t Get Enough Of In 2020

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This year has been a great time to get intimately acquainted with your apartment and home. It was also a time to get very familiar with what there is to watch on your streaming platforms. Here’s what we spent the year of quarantine binge watching.

“The Queen’s Gambit”

“The Queen’s Gambit” was one of the most popular shows of the year. The limited series was all about chess and a young woman’s journey to become the best in the world. She learns while in an orphanage and eventually starts to become a mastermind of chess. The show has brought a lot of attention to chess and more people than ever are interested in the board game. Anya Taylor-Joy as the main character is one of the best performances of the year.

“The Mandalorian”

“The Mandalorian” is the Star Wars show that everyone can’t stop talking about. Pedro Pascal brings the Latino essence to the show without even knowing it. The Star Wars universe is never-ending and this show proves that the fans will show up whenever there is anything Star Wars.

“Los Espookys”

The HBO series is giving you all of the dry, senseless humor you can stand. It is worth watching the show just to get some much needed laughs after this dumpster fire of a year. Let yourself be lost in the hilarity that is Julio Torres.

“Pose”

Afro-Latino queer ballroom culture takes center stage in the FX original show “Pose.” So much of queer culture is thanks to queer people of color and this show honors them. It is one of the best queer shows to ever hit a streaming platform and will open your eyes to a part of the queer community that is often ignored and overlooked.

“Happiest Season”

Another brilliant queer production, “Happiest Season” is all about lesbian love and coming out of the closet. Aubrey Plaza, while not a leading character, plays an important role in helping Abby and Harper’s relationship move to the next level. Harper is left trying to decide if it is worth coming out to her family during the holidays and the result is everything you hoped for.

“The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia”

“The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia” a young robotics genius is living her teenage life with all of the awkward moments you would expect. The show was definitely a sleeper but it makes the list because of the wonderful representation. It isn’t often that you see young Latinas in tech or robotics in media. It’s worth a watch just to fill you with all kinds of good feels.

READ: Netflix Is Bringing Back Seven Classic Black Sitcoms And They’re Already On My Binge List

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