Latina actress Gina Rodriguez appeared on Sway in the Morning on SiriusXM to discuss her new movie, Miss Bala. During the conversation, she opened up for the first time about the backlash she received for comments about pay equity that many perceived to be anti-Black.
Rodriguez, 34, was asked about a comment she made in November 2018 during Porter magazine’s “Women in Television” panel.
The Jane the Virgin star sat alongside actresses Gabrielle Union, Ellen Pompeo and Emma Roberts and discussed diversity in Hollywood. She said, “I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay, especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it.”
Rodriguez added, “Where White women get paid more than Black women. Black women get paid more than Asian women. Asian women get paid more than Latina women, and it’s like a very scary space to step into.”
Sway in the Morning co-host Tracy G asked the 34-year-old about commenters calling her statements anti-Black because they erased Black women and Afro-Latinas. The actress clarified that she wasn’t talking just about the acting industry but all industries. She said it has been proved that Hispanic women make less money.
“The backlash was devastating, to say the least,” Rodriguez said before crying. “Because the Black community was the only community I looked towards growing up. We didn’t have any Latino shows, and the Black community made me feel seen.”
As someone of Puerto Rican descent, she revealed that her father is Afro-Latino. “So, saying I am anti-Black is saying I am anti-family.”
The Miss Bala star was adamant that she never said anything controversial about any race. Although she is of a fairer complexion, she told the radio host that she advocates for all Latinos, not just the ones who look like her.
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When Valentine asked Shahidi about being an role model for young Black women, Rodriguez interjected, saying, “So many women,” which many saw as a comment that erased the point of the question. The interviewer doubled down, telling her, “Yeah, for women, too, but Black women, we need people on a whole other level.”
After the incidents, instead of responding to her critics, Rodriguez left social media to focus on her mental health.
In conclusion, she told Tracy G, “I know my intention. The last thing I want to do is put two underrepresented groups against each other. Our unification is what is going to allow both of our communities to flourish.”
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.