During a panel at PaleyFest yesterday, Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez reportedly asked Latino actors to come together as one community in order to boost roles for Latino actors on TV.
“We need to unite,” Rodriguez said. “They see us as one community — we need to be one community. Let’s do that, use our power as Latinos, whatever culture you identify with and celebrate.”
The PaleyFest is an annual interactive event created in 1984 to "celebrate the collaborative creativity behind making great entertainment content." The panel discussions usually feature full TV casts and producers and audience participation with Q & A sessions. Along with Rodriguez, this panel included co-stars Andrea Navedo, Jaime Camil, Ivonne Coll, Brett Dier, Justin Baldoni and Yale Grobglas, executive producer Ben Silverman, and showrunner Jennie Urman.
Ivonne Coll, who plays Jane's grandmother, also addressed the importance of representation and visibility, specifically as it relates to her character's story arc about immigration and deportation.
“I am so happy that I represent so many immigrants who come to this country and work so hard — we are part of the fabric of America,” Coll said. “It’s not just about ‘these Latinos.’ I am representing a demographic that exists. I put a human face on the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who are here who are not criminals, (who) are hard-working people.”
Jane the Virgin is just part of a wave of new television shows that are more inclusive of racial diversity, including Empire, Black-ish, and Fresh Off the Boat.
Danielle Henderson is a lapsed academic, heavy metal karaoke machine, and culture editor at Fusion. She enjoys thinking about how race, gender, and sexuality shape our cultural narratives, but not in a boring way.