Gina Torres, Paige Hurd, And More Honor Their Afro-Latino Roots At White House Event

"It’s not about picking a box, it's about the reality of no boxes because we are more and more a mixed society," Gina Torres said.

On Feb. 22, the Biden Administration hosted an exclusive event at the White House celebrating Afro-Latino heritage, inviting some of the most prominent names in the community in recognition of their achievements. Actors and musicians Gina Torres, Paige Hurd, Cimafunk, and more were in attendance and they discussed being trailblazers in their respective fields as well as the growing impact of Afro-Latinos worldwide.

Throughout her career, Torres has spoken candidly about existing as a Afro-Latina woman in Hollywood and often finding herself confined to one, singular identity. The Suits star shared her thoughts on how the industry has gradually shifted in its portrayal of the community over the years. “As we become more educated and as we have more visibility in this country about Afro-Latinindad then of course there’s bound to be change,” she said.

“You could never see someone with my complexion speaking Spanish on television and movies, it was unheard of. It was almost as if the industry felt that people’s heads would explode but as we’ve become more of a global society, we’ve understood what other countries actually look like because we’ve been able to see them through diverse programs, through diverse storytelling. It only helps the narrative,” she continued. 

Torres also provided her input on the media’s responsibility in its depiction of Afro-Latinos and its coverage of their unique challenges. “We are a very fast-growing population here. It behooves them quite frankly to continue to put a spotlight on where we exist in science, in the arts, in sports. Sports were always the first frontier. It means economic power. It means a more authentic representation of the country as is.”  

Actress Paige Hurd offered her own remarks, expressing amazement at her booming presence among young Afro-Latinas. “I feel really inspired and I feel really grateful to just be in the position I’m in,” she said. “It’s not that I didn’t think that I would get here but I’m not sure I thought I’d get here so soon. Just to be able to speak for myself and fellow Afro-Latinas is really incredible and to just be here today feels super surreal. I feel super grateful to speak out for myself, for those who were before me and for those who are coming after me, to just let them know, ‘You guys got this.’” 

Grammy-nominated musician Cimafunk didn’t mince words when asked about the media’s duty ahead of election year. “Go to the streets,” said the Afro-Cuban rockstar. “Go talk to the people and listen to people. People will tell you what they need. The media is responsible for telling what is the truth, not what the media wants. Media is the transportation for the information so go out to the road.”  

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