For a while there, Gina Rodriguez was known as a talented Latina actress who broke out and made a name for herself thanks to Jane the Virgin. But there have been several occasions where things get seriously awry when she opens her mouth in interviews or on social media when racial or cultural issues are involved.
On Tuesday, Rodriguez posted a video of herself on her Instagram Stories getting her hair and makeup done, while the Fugees’ “Ready or Not” played in the background. Gina was singing along because, it’s Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel; of course you’re going to sing along. But when the N-word is part of the lyrics, it’s expected that one skips over the word, does a self-aware bleep out and moves on to the next words. But not Gina. She rapped the verse, then smiled and laughed, which did not go over well with those who are understandably fed up with her already-established tone-deafness (more on that in a bit).
The now-deleted vid was replaced by an apology vid, where she said she was sorry for singing along to a song she loves and grew up on. She added that she loves Lauryn Hill and is sorry for offending anyone. Her somewhat flippant delivery and “sorry if I offended anyone” non-apology did little to appease her detractors and, some say, may have done more damage.
IF ANYTHING IT WENT FROM WORSE TO WORSER pic.twitter.com/KhmCr57qYF
— sandman (@ceciIiaparikh) October 15, 2019
About 12 hours later, Gina issued a written apology, which was much more thorough, putting herself on blast and calling the incident “humiliating” and that after watching the video back, she was shaken to her core.
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It’s not the first time Gina has been caught up in criticism about black people, specifically black women. Less than a year ago, Rodriguez was called out for undermining black women by saying they get paid more than Latina women. And whether or not her facts were correct wasn’t the issue; the topic itself was triggering and had people up in arms. She apologized for the backlash in January on the radio show Sway in the Morning, noting how “devastating” it was, especially considering her father is Afro-Latino and the “black community was the only community I looked to growing up” because there weren’t many Latino shows. “So to get anti-black is saying that I’m anti-family.”
But then things took a turn when Gina said the black community misunderstood her while the white and Asian communities didn’t get mad at her—despite saying earlier in the interview that the last thing she wanted to do was “put two underrepresented groups against each other.” And now that she’s shared a video on her own platform using a racial slur, her critics are newly enraged since it seems that Rodriguez hasn’t learned from her previous missteps.
While she has undoubtedly done a great job of repping for Latinx people, it’s clear she needs to figure out how to communicate and not come across as ignorant or, worse, bring down other women or POC when lifting up herself and her own community, however unintentional.