Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Gina Torres

By Andrea Plaid

To me, GinaTorres is the Nichelle Nichols of 21st century: she shows another generation of people of color—especially girls and women of color—that we rightfully belong in the future.

Courtesy: Venus, Rising

Of course, she’s known as a wonderful—and gorgeous!—actor who can move through comedy (the only reason I suffered through Chris Rock’s damn-divorce-your-real-life-wife-already flick I Think I Love My Wife is her) and drama (she has guest roles in Law & Order, 24, and Gossip Girl) and from live-action TV and movies to animation (Boondocks) and video games (DC Universe Online). However, she’s known and beloved for her sci-fi work: reaching back to Black-man-superhero series M.A.N.T.I.S., Cleopatra 2525, Alias, Firefly–and the movie sequel Serenity–and, yes, the Matrix sequels, to name some of her roles. (And some folks give her extra Black Love daps for marrying Morpheus, a/k/a Laurence Fishburne, and their daughter Delilah.)

The R’s Arturo García said this about Torres:

I think it speaks to her on-screen presence that she was, for a long time, a popular choice among Whedonistas to take up the mantle of playing Wonder Woman. So much so that she’s been tapped to provide not only Diana’s voice in the “DC Universe Online” online game, but her evil counterpart, Superwoman, in the “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths” animated film.

However, Torres herself holds a slightly different view about sci-fi and her role in it:

Having done two of the “Matrix” films as well as your role in this film, would you say that you have a passion for the sci-fi genre?

Gina: No. It’s just worked out that way. (Laughs). I like good movies. Not to say that there aren’t wonderful sci-fi films out there, but it’s not where I go first. It’s not where I go first in the rental aisle I should say.

And she has this to say about women-in-charge roles, as few and far between as they are:

There seems to be a fascination with Hollywood to either put a female in a distressing view or in leadership position such as Ripley from “Aliens”.

Gina: Yes, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot in the middle. Here’s the thing. Once given an opportunity, we absolutely show and in many cases surpass many people’s expectations of what a woman in charge can do. As long as it’s cast well, and as long as the right woman is in the role and we feel we can follow that woman anywhere, then there’s no problem. Sanaa had an authority. Sigourney (Weaver) had an authority. Linda Hamilton (from The Terminator) had an authority that was indisputable, and I’m told that I have some of that as well. I’m very excited about seeing Geena Davis in her next show, “Commander-in-Chief”. I think it’s exciting. I think it’s wonderful. We are capable of a great many things and to portray or see that on the big screen, it’s not a lie or a fantasy. It’s just showing another aspect of what is very real.

And what’s also wonderfully real about Torres is she’s an Afro-Latina (her parents are Afro-Cubans who reared her in New York City) in a society–especially in image-making Hollywood–that acts like “Afro” and “Latin@” should be separate identities.

The headline at Angry Black Woman says it all:

Gina Torres: Actress, Gorgeous, Badass (At Least Her Characters Are)!

She’s rocks pretty hard in real life, too. Check out this interview excerpt on the R Tumblr!

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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  • Anonymous

    Gina should be in All The Things!  (okay, maybe not all, but Most Of The Good Things)

    I finally got my autographed picture from her a month or so ago and I was completely giddy.  I came to know her work ‘backwards’ from a lot of people, in that I saw her first in 24 and not in anything s/f until later. 

  • Anonymous

    Oh no, miga! My name is Andrea, not Angela. :-) 

    Wait ’til you see who’s gonna be rocking the space this week…MUAAAAAAHHHHH-HA!

  • Anonymous

    Oh no, miga! My name is Andrea, not Angela. :-) 

    Wait ’til you see who’s gonna be rocking the space this week…MUAAAAAAHHHHH-HA!

  • http://twitter.com/Ellington3 Rhonda Yearwood

    Gina Torres is just stellar!
    Love her and her work! :) 

  • http://thezombieheadquarters.blogspot.com/ Jadey

    She also did fantastic work as Jessica Pearson, head of the law firm Pearson Hardman, on the USA Network’s “Suits”. (Yeah, two white guys headline, but Torres steals every scene she walks into.)

  • Pingback: [Shift: Fun] Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Gina Torres | CijiTheGeek()

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=40902017 Sarah Louise Broat

    I really loved Gina Torres in Huge, a now cancelled show by ABC Family. Her Sci-Fi work is great, but the depth she brought to her camp director role made the show for me.

  • kayj

    Okay, I am way too old and dignified to squee over a celebrity, but squeeeeeeeeee!!!!!  Love me some Gina Torres!  As far as performances, you left out her turn as the evil goddess Jasmine on Angel and her turn as Cleopatra on Xena Warrior Princess.

    • Anonymous

      No, I didn’t…the roles you named fall into the phrase, “to name some of her roles.”

      And I firmly believe one is never too old and dignified to squee over a celebrity. As they say, if the spirit moves ya…;-)

    • Ariel Wetzel

      Gina is my favorite as Cleopatra!  She also plays Nebula on about 8 or 9 episodes of Hercules.  (Xena/Herc reuse a lot of actors in different roles.)

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    I love Gina! I’d definitely like to see her more.

  • Rachel Kantstopdaphunk

    my love for this actor knows no bounds. Gina Torres as Zoe on firefly… well, now. Love love love love. That’s one way to put it. :)

  • http://www.scribblesandsonnets.blogspot.com/ Jessica Isabel

    Love her love her love her LOVE HER!

    She’s definitely my choice for a Wonder Woman live action film. With Angela Bassett as Hippolyta. Done and done.