Tag Archives: hispanic

Jessica Alba Talks to Elle Magazine about Race in Hollywood

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

Really, I say, has your skin color hindered you that much?

Alba shoots me an exasperated look.

Yeah, I could let this be the beginning and the end of this post. Jessica Alba is being interviewed by Andrew Goldman in the February issue of Elle Magazine and he poses the question to launch a thousand eye rolls.

Hello – have you read the last 50 or so interviews with any woman of color in the film industry?

Everyone from Maggie Q to Nia Long has complained about the lack of good roles for non-white folks. More times out of not, you’re auditioning for a niche role in an indie film that targets xxx community, competing for a high profile role playing a stereotype, or trying to nail the audition and convince the director that you can add your own brown flavor to the film and still make it work.

Still, I must admit, the coverline did hook me a bit: “Jessica Alba on race in Hollywood, using sex to get ahead, and why actors make bad boyfriends.”

Considering Perez Hilton’s long term diatribe against her and the professional penalty actors may pay when they find themselves speaking out against domestic injustices, Alba was the last person I expected to go on the record about her feelings on race. I wondered if the text would be some watered down version of “It’s not about my race, it’s about talent.”

A page or so into the article, it becomes clear that Alba has not been drinking the Tiger Woods Kool-Aid:

As assimilated as Alba’s upbringing was, she never felt there was a well-defined place for her in Hollywood. “Nobody really knew what to do with me,” she says. “Everyone wants to categorize you and pigeonhole you. I’m half Latin, but I grew up in the States, and I can’t get roles playing a Latina because I don’t speak Spanish. And I didn’t want to be the best friend, or the promiscuous girl, or the maid, because those stereotypes still exist with Latin roles. I wanted to be a leading lady. And I thought that because I have brown skin shouldn’t make any difference. Why should only Aryan-looking girls be that girl?”

Really, I say, has your skin color hindered you that much?

Alba shoots me an exasperated look. “How many leading leadies are you aware of?” she says. “Lindsay Lohan, Kate Bosworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jessical Biel, Rachel McAdams. We have Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, me, and who else?”

Uh, Eva Mendes?

“Mendes,” she says flatly. “But is Mendes greenlighting movies?”

A good point.

So often in these kind of conversations, people only look at the superficial representation of the problem (As in, “But I know of at least three black characters on major shows! Why is this such a big deal?) rather than thinking about the power dynamics in the entertainment industry. The reporter in this piece implies that she is exagerating the problem by quickly naming another lead woman of color – without thinking about how representation without power or influence is kind of a hollow victory.

What is most telling about this piece – whether it was by whim of the reporter or whim of the editor – is that after Alba makes a critical point power and race, the piece jumps to her personal history.

Her question to the reporter is left hanging.

Seven paragraphs later, the piece ends. Race is never mentioned again.

Racialicious Sports Roundup: MLB, Jayson Williams, Sean Taylor

by guest contributor Luke Lee

First things first. Of course, there is the expected bombshell unleashed in the MLB world from the Mitchell Report which implicated dozens of ballplayers for performance enhancing drug use. Notably, players such as Miguel Tejada, Andy Pettitte, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were named for violations ranging from steroids to human growth hormones. What’s interesting to read now are reactions to seeing Roger Clemens throw into the fold. We expect to see Bonds there (even now, there’s a separate article stemming from the report describing just how sneaky Bonds and conspirators must’ve been to never have been caught by the MLB) but to see in many ways the Brett Favre of the MLB put under suspcion leads some to say that “Baseball has its white Barry Bonds.”

Also in baseball news, there have been whispers about this for along time but it’s starting to catch wind on blogs and magazines. That is, the “Latinization” of the New York Mets by their GM Omar Minaya. It started with bringing in Pedro Martinez, then Carlos Beltran and then Carlos Delgado, throw in a historic late season meltdown and you have some very angry fans who I think are just starting to hold onto anything to blame. So what better to do then to stick to the old “you’re not playing enough of our boys!” (read: you need to play and sign more white players) approach? First i’ll state what I would hope to be the hugely obvious fact that when White GMs are signing, trading for, drafting, and building franchises around White ballplayers, nobody accuses them of racism. Well, actually, some Black ballplayers do but then they get ostracized by the media of being “angry” and just plain batshit Milton Bradley crazy. Jesus, look at the Oakland Athletics. They seriously have one of the Whitest teams in the entire MLB and yet Billy Beane gets praised for his shrewd trades and knowledge of the minor league farm systems. Secondly, almost every MLB franchise actively recruits in South America with farm system academies. They’re the ones going down there and putting dollars in for prospective talent while also maintaining the vast number of A, AA, AAA baseball teams in the states. So this whole “they’re taking our jobs!” suggestion is just getting tired.

And you thought you’d heard the last of Jayson Williams. Not “I will shoot all you Asian mother******* Jason Williams” but the guy who actually killed a guy Jayson Williams. Turns out that in the current retrial, a judge is reviewing evidence which includes the role of an investigating officer and the use of a racial slur by that officer. The Assistant Prosecutor was quick to point out that this was not the equivalent of, you know, Mark Fuhrman.

It’s been over two weeks since Sean Taylor’s death and a lot of articles, think pieces and rush-to-judgment columns have been written. At first, the media made it seem like the man deserved to die by talking incessantly about his troubled past. Then there was an interview with a friend of his that made it seem like he constantly lived in fear his whole life. A lot of folks I think are embarrassed and ashamed about how they and their news agencies handled this. Jim Trotter can explain it a lot better than I can.

If you took the time to read the Trotter piece, I think it’s worth reading the article also by SI about “ghetto loyalty.”

Heroes recap of episode 211: Powerless

by guest contributor Elton

Heroes Volume 2, “Generations,” is over.

The season began with an exciting change of scenery, as Hiro Nakamura accidentally teleported to feudal Japan and met the legendary Sword Saint, Takezo Kensei, who turned out to be a lying, cheating, spiteful scoundrel of an Englishman named Adam Monroe. As Hiro tried to repair history and turn Adam into the heroic Kensei of legend, his brave deeds won the heart of their mutual love interest, the swordsmith’s daughter Yaeko, and Hiro himself became immortalized (figuratively speaking) as Kensei. Hiro and Yaeko’s love incurred the wrath of the jealous Adam, who swore on his life that he would bring misery and suffering to Hiro and all that he held dear.

Adam, the first man to discover his special ability, has survived through the ages because of it, and four hundred years later, he has founded a Company dedicated to finding and tracking others with special abilities. But Adam has a hidden agenda – fueled by his desire for revenge on Hiro and his bitter cynicism as a result of living through four centuries of human suffering, Adam plans to use the vast talents and resources of the Company to destroy most of humanity and “wipe the slate clean.” When the Company realizes this, they lock up Adam and throw away the key. Thirty years later, Adam recruits Peter, a son of Company founders Angela and Arthur Petrelli, in his quest to escape and release the deadly Shanti virus.

The season finale begins with the other bad guy’s quest to regain his powers. Sylar has recruited Maya Herrera, an irritatingly naive Dominican who has journeyed with him to Dr. Suresh’s apartment in Brooklyn to ask the good doctor for a cure to her cursed powers. Maya feels a kinship with (and attraction to) Sylar because they have both killed people with their powers, but she does not realize that Sylar is only using her to get to Dr. Suresh so that his powers, neutralized by the Shanti virus, can be restored.

Mohinder knows full well that Sylar killed his father, and having battled Sylar before, wants to be sure that Maya understands exactly what Sylar wants. Ever faithful, she believes that Sylar only wants to be cured of his sickness and lets slip that his powers are gone. Upon hearing this, Mohinder tries to attack Sylar with a knife, only to be met with a Company gun. Sylar reveals his true intention of regaining his abilities so that he can continue his power-hungry murder spree, and forces Mohinder, Maya, and Molly to Mohinder’s lab, formerly the apartment of precognitive artist Issac Mendez, one of Sylar’s many victims. Continue reading

Heroes recap of episode 210: Truth & Consequences

by Racialicious guest contributor David Zhou

As Volume Two of the Heroes saga nears its end, the plot lines come together and the series develops a climactic peak. But at the same time, gone are the opportunities for the writers to tell backstory, and while this is good for simply the quality of each episode, it gives the show a lot fewer opportunities to slip up with things like representation and stereotype. But who was counting anyway? Oh right, we were.

In this episode, Adam, Peter, and Hiro all look for a virus, albeit for different reasons. Mohinder Suresh proceeds in his lonely medical missions before being confronted by an old villian, accompanied by Maya but not Alejandro, who is the newest victim to Sylar’s wrath. And in the meanwhile, the Bennets mourn for their not-so-dead father… moments in which Hayden Panettiere displays her best acting yet this season. (Okay, you might disagree with me there.)

Two recaps ago, I told my deep discomfort with the portrayal of the as-yet-unnamed Haitian, but I missed one thing. I don’t know the science-fictional precedent of his eclectic collection of superpowers, but somehow we must add one more to his many abilities: super-hearing? I say this because from season one, he and Claire have a relationship that has stemmed from a friggin’ windchime; when she needs someone to turn to, she just needs to hang up a special windchime and then expect the Haitian at her back door immediately to console her fears. In this episode, as Claire grieves for the loss of her father, she is tempted to hang this windchime once more to ask him to erase the memory of her father’s death. This character is even less whole than we had thought… I’d like to think that in addition to his power-negation and memory-stealing powers, he has also teleportation and super-ears, but instead he seems continually like just a house-elf for the Bennets and the Company. And this is a problem. (Please note that he wasn’t shown in this episode – this is just a remark about another reminder of this issue.)

This week we also return to the Dawsons in New Orleans. After Monica attempts to steal back a medal won by D.L., she’s caught by a gang that, besides being paid for arson, steals backpacks from little kids. Granted New Orleans is still depicted as a broken city with rising crime, but the men in this gang here fulfill very specific archetypes of the urban criminal. Specifically, these gang members do happen to be black men decked out with chains, toting guns and enacting violence upon the good. This stereotyping ties into a much greater discussion about how the criminals that these men portray have made a mark on the mainstream consciousness, but I’ll stick to the small things here. In this show, it is apparent that no effort was made to avoid or qualify this kind of typecasting at the levels of plot or representation. I can just imagine how casting was like.

And lastly, as we begin the hunt for this pandemic-causing virus, deception and coercion thrive in the plotlines of Heroes. In which case, it’s interesting to note that, well, all of the dishonest, deceiving, and generally bad characters are white: Bob, Elle, Noah (in a way), Adam, Sylar. The characters of color are generally all genuine and good, for reasons entirely inexplicable. Sorry, but I just had to make this connection. Perhaps it means nothing. :-D

To read past Heroes recaps, click here.

Forget Spanglish! The New Wave is the ‘Japoñol’

by guest contributor Laura Martinez, originally published at mi blog es tu blog

I love, love these guys.

Peruvian reggaetón trio Los Kalibre is making the Japanese shake their butts with catchy songs and lyrics mixing Spanish and Japanese in what the media is already calling Japoñol. The Peru-born recent Japan immigrants are convinced the Japanese will embrace their music and dump the salsa rhythms, simply because reggaetón it’s easier to dance… and to sing. (Really, how difficult is it to learn the lyrics of Gasolina?)

According to Lando, Dando and Nani, their music gets an inspiration from Rafael, Celia Cruz, Nino Bravo and José Feliciano; the trick, they say, is to mix both languages (Spanish and Japanese) and inventing new forms and verbs. ¡Que Viva el Japoñol!