There’s a huge lack of Latinx representation in media, in film, and on television. The lack is even greater for Afro-Latinos, which is why so many of us were hyped when we learned that Sarunas Jackson’s character Dro, on HBO’s Insecure is Afro-Panamanian, just like Jackson is in real life.
There’s a reason why this show is so good and so relatable and it a lot of it has to do with the openness and flexibility that happens in the writers room. Issa Rae has explained before why it was so important for her to explore black and Latino tensions on the show. It also became important to give Afro-Latinos visibility.
Now we’re learning that part of the reason why Jackson got to make his character Dro, Afro-Panamanian is because he suggested it to the writers.
“The writers are pretty collaborative and I respect them for that,” Jackson told Remezcla. “In the beginning, my character was supposed to be black and Mexican but I asked them if he could be black and Panamanian. If he’s already Latino, just let me be me. Later When Carlos Carrasco came, this gave an opportunity to another Panamanian actor.”
That’s right, in case you didn’t already know, Carlos Carrasco who plays Daniel is Afro-Panamanian. Though he doesn’t play a Latino on the show, the fact that Afro-Panamanians are getting opportunities to play on popular shows like Insecure is definitely a step in the right direction.
“It’s good to give opportunities to different types of people who have all these different stories to tell,” Jackson said. “We need to tell our own stories, especially for Latinos so that we can show how diverse we all are. People think we only have this one type of look, but even me and Daniel look different and we’re both Afro-Panamanian. He has more African descent than I do but we’re both Latinos at the end of the day. In Panama, there’s an area that has a large community of Asians but they speak full on Spanish. These are the types of stories I hope to tell one day when I create my own content.”
Shows like Orange Is The New Black and Insecure have really been making an effort to give more Afro-Latino representation and visibility, proving to the world that Latinos really are racially diverse. Now here’s to seeing more Latinos that look like Carlos Carrasco actually getting to play Latino roles in the near future.