Gina Rodriguez has done it again. The actress has shown her true colors once more, but it looks like she’s perhaps finally realized she has a lot of learning to do. It might be a little too late since many have been calling her out for her problematic and hurtful comments made toward and about the Black community. On Tuesday morning, the Jane the Virgin actress became a trending topic on Twitter after folks pointed out an Instagram Story video where she sings the N-word.
The video, which she posted on Instagram but later deleted, showed her singing along to a Fugees song, “Ready or Not.” She sang along to the song, had no qualms about the lyrics, and kept going, “Fronting [n-word] give me hee-bee-gee-bees.” Rodriguez can be seen looking to another person and laughing after saying the derogatory and racist term.
Here is the video in question:
After she was called out on social media, Rodriguez seemingly realized the error of her ways and posted another two-part Instagram Story video in which she could be seen delivering a half-hearted apology.
“Hey, what’s up everybody. I just wanted to reach out and apologize. I am sorry,” she said. “I am sorry if I offended anyone by singing along to The Fugees, to a song I love, that I grew up on. I love Lauryn Hill. And I really am sorry if I offended you.”
Her apology video received even more backlash than the first video because of her careless language. Her use of the phrase, “If I offended anyone” more or less implied that because she loves Lauryn Hill she didn’t mean any harm by it or because she grew up listening to the song then it gives her some kind of pass? Wrong on both fronts, Gina.
Later in the evening, Rodriguez issued another (half-hearted) apology, this time written, on Instagram.
“The word I sang carries with it a legacy of hurt and pain that I cannot even imagine,” Rodriguez wrote. “I feel so deeply protective and responsible to the community of color, but I have let this community down. I have some serious learning and growing to do, and I am so deeply sorry for the pain I have caused.”
But again, Rodriguez seemingly couldn’t address the Black community as “the community of color” that she hurt, offended, and disrespected. Instead, she chose to save face instead of simply and wholeheartedly admitting to her mistake.
This also isn’t the first time Rodriguez has expressed anti-black views. The Jane the Virgin star got emotional earlier this year when she spoke about people’s perception that she’s anti-black.
“So, saying I am anti-black is saying I am anti-family,” Rodriguez said on a radio show in January. She explained that her father is black, Afro-Latino, as are her cousins, and Puerto Ricans. “It’s in my blood. I know my heart. I know what I meant.”
After this, however, we don’t know what to think of her apologies anymore. Take a look at the past times Rodrguez has shown to be anti-black.
She Doesn’t Understand The Erasure of Blackness Across Latin America — And Instead Perpetuates It
There’s no denying that the Jane the Virgin star is trying to increase the visibility of other Latinas in Hollywood and using her platform to do so. However, time and time again, she’s made it clear that she doesn’t quite grasp the deep erasure of Blackness across Latina America. Or worse, she doesn’t care.
It first came into play a few years back when she posted a photo of Latinas in Hollywood that had been invited to a brunch in her home, and there was basically no Afro-Latina representation. The hashtag brainstormed by Rosario Dawson (ironically the ONLY Afro-Latina in attendance) #FiercelyLatina began to trend, and people were feeling the concept of solidarity and support, but not the complete lack of diversity represented. It was just the beginning of what has become a pretty steady stream of criticism for the Puerto Rican actress.
Does this mean she is racist? Absolutely not. But she is indulging in the same ignorance, so many in the Latino community do when they claim they “don’t see color” and that there is no racism in Latin America.
This would have been so easy, just invite some more melanated Latinas to your brunch! Gina Torres, Lala Anthony, Christina Milian, Tessa Thompson, Dasha Polanco, or even Zoe Saldana (who herself has said problematic things about being Afro-Latina but we’ll STILL take her) were ALL busy? Nope. Cause Dasha spilled some tea and let it be known quite publically that she was not invited. Oops.
Christopher Columbus is NOT a Superhero
this why language so important. & this why i don't take folk like gina seriously. look how afraid latinx are of words like black & african & colonization. the mixes & influences? BE CLEAR: rape & genocide.
— Marjua Estevez (@_MsEstevez) February 18, 2018
Damn Gina! Language IS important. You can’t be whitewashing history calling colonization “migration” and rape and genocide “mixing.” Though it was later clarified that Rodriguez wanted the victims of colonization to be cast as the heroes in this story, the language used here was a textbook example of the colonizer-mentality at work. We need to mindful and sure to pick our words carefully. Stated a bit differently, this idea would have been fire.
When She Interrupted A Young Black To Make It About Her Own Culture
OK, so this was a well-intentioned correction gone wrong. Gina wanted to emphasize the fact that Shahidi is, in fact, a role model for all women. It’s true, she is. But what’s also true is that Black Women have such few opportunities to shine that when one does (like Yara) she is embraced and held up by other Black women. And you know what? That’s fine! She can be an inspiration to all women too. But this was a black blogger asking a black actress about her impact on other young black women and no one needed Gina to interject. Period.
Latinas DO Get Paid Less than Black Women — But That’s NOT the Point
Gina is currently dealing with many a clap back for making this statement during a Net-a-Porter debate:
“I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it, right? 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.”
Latina women do get paid less on average compared to black women, across all industries. But from the highest-earning to lowest it actually goes: Asian, white, black, Native American, Latina. It is a fact that Latinas are the lowest paid WOC in the U.S. Sofia Vergara may be the highest-paid actress on TV right now, but she is ONE of a very few, and the rest are not getting paid anywhere near what she is. No, this is not the oppression Olympics but anyone watching this talk in its entirety would see what actually was a very thoughtful conversation in which Ellen Pompeo takes the full-on mantel of white responsibility to speak up for all people of color, Rodriguez and Union spoke eloquently about the Latinx and Black experience and why its so hard for a WOC to ask for what she is worth.
This was a case of many online warriors jumping down Gina’s throat and making the false equivalency that since Sofia Vergara is the highest-paid actress on TV, ALL Latinas in Hollywood are doing just fine. That’s not what she said and is not what she was talking about and her comments were 100% taken out of context.
Additional reporting by Mariela Rosario.