Mun2's "Black and Latino" Video: That's Me!
As I listened, I realized they were talking about my life as well as others
Originally published on Se Fija!
Published on LatinoLA: January 18, 2012
Mun2, Telemundo's bilingual TV/internet channel, has done some interesting and entertaining programs over the years, and their recently released piece called "Black and Latino" (link below), is one of the best‘«™and one that's especially, personally important to us here at "Se Fija!"
For too many years, darker-skinned Latinos‘«Űthose with relatives from Panam?Ū, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, various countries in South America and elsewhere‘«Űhave had to deal with the judgments and ignorance that swirl around being simultaneously 'black' and 'Latino.' But even as this segment of the population has grown, the subject itself has rarely been discussed widely or in depth.
For me‘«ŰAngela Ort?°z, publisher of SeFija, and my family‘«Űit's personal. My brother and I came to California from Panam?Ū in 1966, at a time when you were "black" or "white" or "Mexican" or‘«™nothing at all. There was no in-between. In many ways, my brother and I were treated as novelties, and not much more.
Today, things are very different. As an adult, I've come to realize I'm not just black or white or Spanish or Latina. I encompass all those aspects of my life. And I am delighted and grateful to hear other people‘«Űcelebrities and folks on the street alike‘«Űsaying the same thing. Many of us were brought up that way, and now we are validated: it's okay to be a little of "this" and a little of "that." That's what makes a whole person. I refuse to pick and choose how to identify myself, but make no mistake: I hold one thing dear: I am a Latina, which includes not only food and music, but the way I view my life.
As I watched this video from mun2 for the first (and second and third) time today, as I listened to the stories these well-spoken entertainers all told, I realized they were talking about "my" life as well as their own. And it reminded me that being who I am‘«Űthe mixture of what I am‘«Űis the best thing ever.
I've been in this country nearly 46 years. I've seen lots of things change‘«Űsome for the better, some not. But I am grateful to Mun2 for starting this intelligent and long overdue conversation about being black and Latino here in the USA.
Be sure to watch it. It's important. It includes clips from actors, directors, writers, and musicians who are black and Latino: actors Laz Alonso, Christina Milian, Soledad O'Brien, Gina Torres, Judy Reyes, Tatyana Ali, singers Sabi, Maluca, Kat DeLuna, Javier Colon, writer/editor Mimi Valdez, and director Jessy Terrero all offer some fascinating and often touching insights.
Gina Torres ("Suit," "Serenity," "Cleopatra 2525") recalls that, "When I decided to become an actress, I realized 'the world' like to see their Latinas look like Italians." Christina Milian ("Be Cool") talks about how hard it was to be cast as a Latina earlier in her career, and says that to this day, she has a hard time booking Latina roles, "because I'm a brown Latina." All of them talk about the issue with frankness and good humor, covering everything from good hair to discrimination even within the family, to the condescension of whites within the industry‘«Űall of it worth watching.
The only real problem with Black and Latino is that it's only ten minutes long. But click over to Mun2, watch it, and leave a comment or three. Maybe plenty of activity there will prompt them to continue the discussion with more interviews and longer programming.
It's certainly a subject we've cared about for a long time‘«™and for obvious reasons.
- Angela Mar?°a Ort?°z S.