The Brown Sister

In the spirit of #TeamPOC, I'd like to talk about Latinas in Hollywhite.

To my fellow non-Latina sistren of color: if you haven't subscribed to the Latina Fatale blog (LOVE that name, by the way), I recommend you do.  What we're talking about here is being said over there.  Brown-Black unity and similarity ain't no myth, kids; folks are most assuredly on the same page:
I write in solidarity with the earlier post on this site, “Shame on Latina Magazine.” I do believe it is problematic that Latinas are overwhelmingly shown in such stereotypical roles as maids and housekeepers in Hollywood and other media. What is problematic is that by and large, Hollywood and other outlets of popular culture simply cannot imagine Latinas in any other roles.

If it is not the maid or housekeeper role that we so often see in mass media, it is the sexy Latina– She is all breasts and hips, long dark hair and boy does she get fired up. Muy caliente. One of my favorite actresses, Salma Hayek, recently spoke about this image in her September Allure magazine interview. She said, “When I first started, I found that I had to play the part of something they could swallow in Hollywood, which was the sexy Latin girl, I was not dressing like that in Mexico.”

But can we re-imagine the Latina in popular culture? Can she be something more diverse, less stereotypical? More empowered?


~ Lourdes E. Acevedo
Granted, our problems are not exactly alike, but it's all coming from the same place: Hollywhite doesn't like women of color unless we're in roles they're most comfortable with - the meek Asian girl, the Hispanic maid, the tender, forgiving, Indian maiden, and the sassy black bitch.

Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, when asked why she chose to do Ringer, said that it seemed the best roles for women are all on TV.  I'm starting to agree, though the shows still tend to favor non-POC women.  Thus, I want to give a shout-out to some Latina actresses I'm currently watching and rewatching in awe.

Judy Reyes

LOVE Judy Reyes; her character Carla Espinosa was one of the main reasons I started watching and then kept watching Scrubs.  While I didn't like the fact she was a nurse instead of a doctor, I understood the attempt at socioeconomic commentary (keyword in that sentence: attempt).  However, I would rather she be the doctor, while Turk and J.D. be a couple of screwball nurses (and while I was proud to see her on the arm of a brother, I think she and Dr. Cox were meant to be).

But I digress.

This Dominican goddess never really got her due on that show because once any woman of color appeared to be a threat [read: fan favorite], the audience was quickly reminded to worship blonde and bony.

Lauren Vélez

Puerto Rican actress Lauren Vélez is one of the only reasons I remember New York Undercover.  She's also one of two reasons why I'm still watching Dexter.  She was also one of the reasons I was able to stomach Oz (where Judy Reyes had a guest appearance).  On Oz, she portrayed a prison doctor, and on Dexter, she's the hard-nosed Sergeant Maria LaGuerta, whom everyone else has to answer to.  And when her non-POC bosses on the show tried to replace her with a less uppity another woman of color, LaGuerta started sleeping with the new boss's husband to drive her crazy and out of her job.  That's what sealed the deal for Moi.  It was nothing but love after that.

By the way, let that be a lesson to WoC who willingly displace other WoC from their jobs.

I don't like how the writers are treating Vélez's character now; it's like they're making her extra vain and extra bitchy for no damn reason.  I'm not surprised; we all saw how Gabrielle Union's character on FlashForward went from being a bright-eyed, sweet-natured bride-to-be to a militant bitch right out of the blue.

April L. Hernandez

Gynophiles, eat your heart out.

I mentioned that Lauren Vélez is one of two reasons why I'm still watching Dexter.  This young curvaceous Puerto Rican angel is the second.  April Hernandez plays the rookie Officer Cira Manzon (love that name!) and I simply adore her.  I hope to God she doesn't lose any weight.  She's nothing short of glorious, and I was so proud to see this woman rocking her shape in Season 5 of Dexter (she looks even thicker on the show).

Cira Manzon might be a young rookie, but she's neither stupid nor incompetent, and she asserts herself beautifully.  Though...I fear she may have been written into the show simply as less-threatening WoC to counter LaGuerta's presence.

Either way...damn, she's fine.

So these are the Latinas I'm currently watching (now that Scrubs is available for streaming on Netflix).  What about you, patrons?  What are you sippin' on at the bar?

Comments

  1. Gina Torres: Suits. Nuff said.

    Former WWE Diva's Champion Eve Torres who is not only a world class athlete, but is an outspoken person for young girls and is very active in empowering women to take self-defense in order to defend themselves.

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  2. I've been watching Univision and I have a few more personal favs.

    Patricia Navidad
    Zuria Vega
    Mariana Seoane García

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  3. Aren't the first two black latinas? They have to face the struggle from both sides of the fence.

    Gina Torres is and always has been the one to watch imo. Same for Michelle Rodriguez.

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  4. Oh. And Adriana Limo of course.

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  5. True talent has no colour. Thanks for telling us about these talents.

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  6. You forgot Gina Ravera who left The Closer. I have no idea why she left but hey, you cant have that great beauty upstaging Kyra Sedgwick.
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0712406/

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  7. Brown ain't nothin' but a lighter shade of Black.

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  8. Thanks for some new names, folks!

    And also...I quit watching Dexter. When they started making the backstabbing WoC basically gang up on the poor white girl and make her cry, I took that as my cue to quit renting the discs.

    I love Velez, and I love Hernandez, and I can't wait to see what they do next with their careers 'cause Dexter is some bullshit.

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  9. Rosalyn Sanchez-sama nuff said.
    Do this mute this first song video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm7i8eULAbI
    and play the second vid
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqhz2vbq8Jk
    the song goes with her.

    I like her because she doesn't play into the Latina stereotype. In fact with Ms. Ankhesen's Buffy dreamcast, Ms. Sanchez would be a good watcher for the slayer.

    ReplyDelete

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