With everything that’s been happening in this country regarding cruel and immoral immigration policies and a lack of tolerance towards marginalized groups including Latinos, Zoe Saldana is making it her duty to put more content out there in mainstream media that tells the Latinx communities’ stories. In a recent appearance on Refinery29’s video series “The Ladies Room,” she gets real about why she created her multicultural, multi-media platform BESE and the importance of representation.
Saldana has always recognized the importance of representation but motherhood is what inspired her to really take serious action and create BESE.
“I think after my twins were born I became really overwhelmed with this sensation of wanting to do something for my country so that my children can be positive recipients of it,” she tells Refinery29’s Elisa Kreisinger. “Growing up as an American, a first generation American, the marginalization of people of color in mainstream media is rather hurtful because you’re sorta blatantly omitted from the American narrative. And you find yourself sorta trying to find a way to feel present and to feel served and to also feel relevant as an American and as a tax payer, as a voter, and an American civilian so, as soon as I had my sons I didn’t want my children to have to fight twice as hard to earn their American-ship.”
Saldana feels like Latinx representation is more important than ever with the population in Latinxs in the states increasingly growing.
“Well, I think that by 2060 it’s predicted that Latinos, Americans of Latino descent, will comprise of a big chunk of the American population, so we very well have the ability of becoming the majority,” she says. “I mean we’re heading in that direction. And yet the representation of Latinos in mainstream media is really really poor—if any. And usually the news that’s out there is negative news, breaking the law and things like that so they’re all these hidden figures of people, of Latino descent, that since they came to America they’ve been impacting the very fabric of our nation and yet we don’t really know who they are. It’s just about dusting off that vault and sort of uncovering them and celebrating them and sorta of showing all Americans, that all Americans have really been impacting our nation since we’ve been here.”
In fact, Zoe has an ongoing series on BESE called “Hidden Figures” where they highlight Latinx figures who made huge impacts in American society but aren’t really known or at least spoken about in mainstream media or even in schools. This month’s was about Arturo Schomburg, an Afro-Puerto Rican who played a huge role in the Harlem Renaissance.
“The reason why we’re starting with the Latinx community is because it’s the most marginalized according to it’s size and growth,” says Saldana. “But it’s also with the desire to represent the LGBTQIA community and other multi-cultural communities as well.” She goes on to further explain the importance of making it our responsibility as citizens to make sure everyone’s stories are being told.
“So it’s our duty right now to sorta, just help our nation evolve, which is super important because the power of role models for young minds is primordial,” she says. “When a child has role models and people that he feels reflected through, then he is able to cultivate aspiration for himself or herself.”
We couldn’t agree more!