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10 Black Latinx Actors Who Are Killing It

Roll Call: 10 Black Latinx Actors Taking Seats at Hollywood's Table

10 Black Latinx Actors Who Are Killing It

It's Black History Month, and what better way to celebrate Black creators than to acknowledge Afro-Latinx actors in Hollywood finally getting the screen time and recognition they deserve? Thanks to actors and activists like Tessa Thompson, Jharrel Jerome, Rosario Dawson, and countless others speaking up about Afro-Latinx identity and representation on the screen — whether by using platforms such as social media, interviews, or award shows to do so — the industry has been making strides. This type of representation is important because these actors finally get to bring their full selves into the characters they embody. Hollywood gets to center other types of Latinx experiences, and viewers like me get to see ourselves reflected in media, having our lived experiences validated. Many people still can't believe that someone can be Black and Latinx, so when we have authentic representation that's executed well, this truly allows society to see us, especially when these roles don't play into negative stereotypes.

Recently, we've had Afro-Puerto Rican Ariana DeBose, who was cast to play an Afro-Puerto Rican in "West Side Story"; Julissa Calderon, who is Dominican and played a Dominicana in "Gentefied"; and newcomer Afro-Cuban Rome Flynn, who starred in "With Love" not only as an Afro-Cuban, but also as a love interest — something we rarely get to see. While we are excited to amplify these successful and long-awaited moments, it's also important to recognize that Black Latinx representation on television and in movies took ages to finally happen. And even though we've made significant progress, there's still so much work that needs to be done. Just last year, we witnessed the lack of Black representation in "In the Heights," which felt like such an insult and disservice to a community where many Afro-Latinxs live and create culture. This also speaks to the need for more Afro-Latinx writers, producers, directors, and casting directors in order for the industry to truly shift. In 2019, Gina Torres became the first Afro-Latina to star, create, and produce her own show for a major network. So yes, we'll celebrate these wins, but let's not forget that the #HollywoodSoWhite phenomenon continues, and it's up to us to keep demanding a seat at the table to affect real change.

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