In Hollywood, there are many actresses vying for very few roles when it comes to Black women. But these actresses have contributed so much to music, fashion, and entertainment.
Actress Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Yaya DaCosta, and Rosario Dawson are just a few Afro-Latina actresses heating up the screen and activism. Rodriguez’s role as Blanca Evangelista in FX’s critically acclaimed series Pose broke barriers and records never before seen in the industry. And when Dawson is not on the screen, she’s providing resources to women aimed at preventing domestic violence and innovative STEM programs to young girls via the Lower East Side Girls Club.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, check out five Afro Latina Actresses who should be on your radar and screens.
Afro-Puerto Rican actress Amirah Vann has been vocal about her heritage throughout her career. The actress, who found breakout success thanks to her role in the thriller Underground, has often spoken out about the struggles of colorism in the business.
She told reporters in 2016: “What we see in the mass Latino media is European, European, European. We haven’t talked enough about where this colorism comes from, about that history, how color was just used to divide us and create self-loathing. But there shouldn’t be any doubt when you look in the mirror that you are a beautiful representation of your race and culture.” Amirah recently appeared in Tyler Perry’s passion project, “A Jazzman’s Blues.”
Afro-Brazilian Hollywood star Yaya DaCosta captured viewers with her breathtaking beauty during her time on the popular reality competition series America’s Next Top Model before going on to have a successful acting career that had just begun.
Last year, Yaya landed the lead role as Angela Vaughn on Lee Daniel’s Our Kind of People. Unfortunately, the show was recently canceled, but fans haven’t seen the last of the actress.
In a 2019 interview with TheGrio, the star sounded hopeful about the future. “When I got an audition recently for a Colombian woman, I was like, ‘Really, like they asked for me? Really?’” she said. “Because in the past, we would never have been considered if you didn’t look like Jennifer Lopez.”
Afro-Cuban and Dominican actress Selenis Leyva is best known for her role as Florida Medoza in the Netflix comedy-drama Orange Is the New Black. She’s had over a dozen television and movie appearances. She is even set to star in Michael B. Jordan’s debut directorial sports drama film, Creed III, which is currently in production.
Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican actress Roasio Dawson should be on your radar for several reasons besides her amazing talent. As a veteran in the industry, the New York City native made her feature film debut in the 1995 movie, Kids. Since then, she’s starred in numerous projects, including Rent, He Got Game, Sin City, and many more.
However, it’s the star’s activism that deserves highlighting. The 41-year-old has dedicated her time and energy to various environmental and LGBTQ+ organizations. She was also involved with the Lower East Side Girls Club, which supports “young women and gender-expansive youth in New York City through our free, year-round innovative programs in STEM, Arts, Digital Media and Sound, Wellness, Civic Engagement, and Leadership.”
Michaela Jaé Rodriguez
Afro-Puerto-Rican actress Michaela Jaé Rodriguez is a seasoned player in the entertainment industry after making her acting debut as Angel Dumott Schunard in a theater production of Rent. She enjoyed minor television roles in series like Netflix’s Luke Cage before finding breakthrough success on FX’s Pose.
Her performance as Blanca Evangelista garnered critical acclaim. The actress subsequently became the first transgender woman to earn an Emmy Award nomination in a major acting category.