Representation of any marginalized identity in the mainstream is always going to be a hot topic, but it’s particularly heated when the conversation is had within the community. In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, Netflix recorded a roundtable discussion on Latinx identity, culture, and representation starring the notable Latinx actors of their original series.
Over a table of tostones and empanadas, the actors discussed how in Hollywood Latinidad is often conflated with solely Mexican culture. “On My Block” actor Jason Genao talks about how despite his Dominican heritage, he’s only ever played Mexican characters on television.
“People from Hollywood don’t understand that Latinos also come from the Caribbean and we come in different flavors,” Selenis Leyva of Orange is the New Black said.
Leyva continued that this has been an issue for her for the past 20 years that she’s been in Hollywood. Her OITNB co-star Jackie Cruz agreed, saying that’s why she moved to New York to get roles after having no success in Hollywood.
“It’s still an issue because there are still many people who don’t understand that aside from being Latino, there’s Afro-Latino,” Leyva said. “There’s also Latinos who don’t even look Latino because they have blonde hair and blue eyes.”
You can check out more of the video above.