Gina Rodriguez is finally addressing the backlash she received late last year over comments about equal pay that some called anti-black. Yesterday in an interview on Sirius XM Sway’s Universe, co-host Tracy G. asked Rodriguez about what she had said on a panel alongside other female actresses in which she spoke of black actresses getting paid more than Asian and Latina actors. Rodriguez clarified she wasn’t talking about the acting industry, but rather all industries, and added that it’s difficult for her to speak about underpaid people especially because she is a high-paying actor.
“When we talk about equal pay, we must talk about intersectionality because we all must rise,” Rodriguez said, and added that the “backlash was devastating.” Rodriguez then got emotional and couldn’t continue speaking. Host Sway and Tracy G both told her to take her time.
Rodriguez, who is currently promoting her latest film Miss Bala, went on to say that growing up she felt part of the black community because of the lack of Latinos in Hollywood. “I felt seen,” she said while wiping her tears away.
“So, saying I am anti-black is saying I am anti-family,” Rodriguez said. She explained that her father is black, Afro-Latino, as are her cousins, and Puerto Ricans. “It’s in my blood,” she said.
“I know my heart,” she said. “I know what I meant.”
She went on to say that she has not said anything controversial about anybody, primarily because the black community is her community. She explained that even though she advocates for Latinos, she isn’t just supporting people that have the same color of skin as her. She called the backlash a dark time for her and said that she had to go off social media for a while because her “mental health is much more important to me.”
“I know my intention,” she said. “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.”
Rodriguez added that she could not respond to comments on social media because they were discussing something she did not say. “What can you say? Sorry for cheating when you did not cheat?”
She also said that she found it surprising that the Asian or the white community did not react negatively about what she had said during that panel, but that the group who she feels closest to did. She did, however, apologize to those she offended and said: “there’s space for all of us.”
People on social media did not react well to this latest interview. They criticized her for calling her dad black and posted pictures of him mentioning that she was “reaching” because he isn’t as dark skinned as some believed him to be, which is ignorant considering you don’t need to have dark skin to be Afro-Latinx.
You can watch the entire interview below.