Afro-Latina actress Gina Torres is open about having to check the black box with her roles

actress Gina Torres speaks candidly about her experiences as an Afro-Latina woman in Hollywood, where she often had to choose to portray herself only as a black woman. The actress is the child of Cuban immigrants, Richard and Rebecca Torres, and hails from the South Bronx, New York.

Her career spans more than two decades, with breakthrough roles on Firefly and films like The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions and Serenity. “While she has blockbuster films on her resume to validate her success as an actress, Torres has found that her career has been a journey across worlds.

Gina Torres
Actress Gina Torres. Photo: Iamginatorres/Instagram

“I feel like I live in three worlds. My world, in which I grew up, was also Spanish-speaking. Home, Cuban parents, and then you go out into the world and I speak English and I’m in the Bronx,” she shared while appearing on MSNBC’s The Culture is: Latina. She further added, “And then when you step into this industry as an actress, nobody recognizes you as either one.”

According to MSNBC, the series “highlights Black, Latina, Asian American Pacific Islander, and Indigenous women raising diverse voices.” The roundtable with Torres is the second special in the four-part series. The open discussion took place in August. However, it began circulating on social media days before National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Finding her place in the industry was a challenge for the former “Suits” actress, and one that made her feel like there was no place for her to be herself, an Afro-Latina woman . Hollywood’s struggle to be inclusive and diverse has been a recurring conversation over the decades. Although in recent years studio heads and heads of production companies have made concerted efforts to hire talent that better represents the full spectrum of society.

“I didn’t identify as a black woman because it was cultural for me. Because of course I present Black, I’m a black woman. I’m Cuban too. If you’re here in the United States and you’re asked to label and you don’t fit into the label culturally, it was different. I didn’t identify with it, but in order to work, to survive, I had to learn it,” she said.

Torres concluded that part of her ability to thrive while feeling like she was “alienating that other part of me” was accepting that she had to switch codes by learning “what.” whatever was ‘black'”. She remarked, “It just became a Jedi mind trick to keep me from being sad all the time about my inability to experience and express the whole of myself.” Afro-Latina actress Gina Torres is open about having to check the black box with her roles

James Brien

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