Gina Torres Trends For Discussing the Erasure Of Afro-Latinos In Hollywood: ‘We’re Hiding In Plain Sight’
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Cubana Queen Gina Torres began trending on Twitter yesterday as the discussion about Afro-Latino representation in Hollywood continues to rage on online. Right in time for the debates and arguments about colorism in Hollywood as well as what constitutes Afro-Latino, CNN dropped an interview with Gina Torres that explicitly discussed both.
In an interview with CNN, Gina Torres discussed how difficult it has been for her as an Afro-Latina actor to carve out a space for herself in an industry built on stereotypes.
According to Torres, she struggled to get a foothold in Hollywood early in her career because. The powers-that-be told her that she was “too exotic” and they didn’t want to “confuse the audience” by hiring an actress that challenged the traditionally standard of American beauty.
She went on to explain that Afro-Latino actors in Hollywood are traditionally only cast in African-American roles because they “don’t look Latino” enough. She described Afro-Latino performers as “hiding in plain sight” in the entertainment industry.
Luckily, now that the cultural temperature is changing, Gina Torres feels she has more power to ask that the Black characters she play on screen also be explicitly Latina.
In recent years, Torres has asked producers on her shows “Pearson” and “911: Lone Star” to make her characters Afro-Latina. But, a lot of the time, producers don’t even know how to show their audience what an Afro-Latina looks like. But, Torres has the answers to their questions.
“I need to speak my language (Spanish) whenever possible,” she said. “I need to let the audience know that this is also a face of Latinidad.” And all her efforts are working. When your average American thinks of an Afro-Latino, many of them think of Gina Torres first. Hence, her name trending on Wednesday.
Gina Torres also got the internet talking when she weighed in on the “In the Heights” colorism controversy.
In response to a Tweet criticizing the movie, Torres (who grew up in Washington Heights) explained that she thought the movie was accurate. “It’s a movie about Washington Heights and all who live there,” she wrote. “It’s not exclusively a Dominican or Afro Dominican story. Did it ever occur to you that the guy selling piragua is from PR? I [grew] up in the Heights. I consider it my home. I was thrilled to see a Caribbean Story.”
In response to her name trending, Torres posted a loving video to her fans thanking them for their continued support of her over the years.
“Hola mi gente,” she opened the video. “Thank you. Thank you so much you beautiful Afro-Latino, Latino community out there. I love you, I see you, I am you. I am so honored to be able to hold this space in your heart and in your life, And know that I am dedicated–doggedly dedicated–to bringing more stories about us. About all of us. About what we look like. And the breadth and the depth about what we are and who we are.”