Rosie Perez is adding her thoughts to the ongoing conversation around Black and Latinx identities, which resurfaced recently due to comments from Fat Joe, drama on Basketball Wives and Gina Rodriguez’s Instagram karaoke N-word moment.
During an interview with Essence last Saturday, while receiving the Hispanicize’s Latinavator Award at the InterContinental in Los Angeles, the actress said Afro-Latinos are the only ones in the Latinx community who have to identify as a separate group.
“I think it’s very dangerous — the separation of color within the Latin community,” she said. “People who are dark skin have to pronounce themselves as Afro-Latinos. The Latinos that are not dark-skinned don’t call themselves White Latinos or Caucasian Latinos. I know that might sound controversial, [but] I think it’s important that we unify.”
She continued, “That said: there is a disparity in regards to seeing brown, dark brown and Black-skinned colored Latinas, Latinos, LatinX — whatever — it hasn’t changed that much.”
Perez also says younger generations are more ambiguous when it comes to identifying themselves.
“What’s fantastic to me is that the new Latinx generation, they do not care [about these labels],” she added. “And they are voicing their opinions and I think that’s fantastic.”
Rosie Perez continued the interview by referencing a study done by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, which highlighted that only 3 percent of Latinos in Hollywood are cast in leading roles. She says that even in the examination of the marginalization of Latinx people can be misinterpreted.
“They had said that only 3 percent of Latinos in Hollywood get the lead roles and they left out Zoe Saldana,” Perez stated. “That was such an important misstep on their part, and you ask yourself why? Whether it was conscious or subconscious, it was an omission that spoke volumes. They don’t include us as part of the conversation as winning, and that’s an issue. I think as a community we need to look within ourselves and fix that problem before we start pointing fingers at everyone else.”
Read the full interview here.