Gina Rodriguez Breaks Down Crying When Responding to Critics Calling Her 'Anti-Black'
By Paige Gawley
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Gina Rodriguez is speaking out following allegations that she's anti-black.
The 34-year-old Jane the Virgin actress recently appeared on radio show Sway in the Morning and defended herself against recent claims that she's anti-black.
The backlash began with a November 2018 Net-a-Porter roundtable with Rodriguez where she said that Black women are paid more than Latinx women. The scrutiny intensified after Rodriguez took to Twitter to ask: "Marvel and DC are killing it in inclusion and women but where are the Latinos?! Asking for a friend…” That tweet caused many to ask why Rodriguez was questioning a groundbreaking movie like Black Panther, and point out that Afro-Latinx actresses including Tessa Thompson and Zoe Saldana appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"I wasn't speaking about my industry," she said of the Net-a-Porter roundtable, which also included Ellen Pompeo, Emma Roberts and Gabrielle Union. "I always find it difficult to talk about equal pay as a woman who makes a substantial amount of money. As someone who came from poverty to now the amount of money that I get paid, it doesn't feel right that I'm the one talking about it because I'm just so damn grateful. To then be on a panel with women that I respect and admire and for us to talk about a subject that I find very difficult to talk about... what I was saying was that when we talk about equal pay, we have to talk about intersectionality because we all must rise."
Rodriguez went on to emotionally call the backlash "devastating" that made for "a really dark time," largely due to her connection to the Black community.
"The Black community was the only community that I looked towards growing up. We didn't have many Latino shows and the Black community made me feel like I was seen," she said through tears. "So to get anti-black is saying that I'm anti-family. My father is dark-skinned, he's Afro-Latino and my cousins are and Puerto Ricans are African, Taino and Spaniard and it's in blood, so that was really devastating to me."
"If anything the Black community is my community. As Latinos, we have Black Latinos. That is what we are," she added. "I am not, so I think that when I speak about Latino advocacy people believe I only mean people of my skin color and little do they know that I'm very aware of what my culture is and the opportunities I create and who I put in those spaces are both the Latino and the Black community."
The Annihilation star continued, telling the hosts that "the last thing I want to do is put two underrepresented groups against each other. Our unification is what is our rise. Our unification is what's going to allow both our communities to continue to flourish."
That "really f**king hard" period was intensified because Rodriguez didn't know how to defend her words and explain what she meant.
"What do you say? Sorry for cheating when you didn't cheat? How do you talk to a bunch of people that all they do is read: 'Gina Rodriguez Says Controversial Comments About Black Actresses.' When? When? What? Ever? Why? Never in a million years," she said. "So that sh*t was real difficult, but I have to keep my head up and know my heart and know what I do and know who I am... How do you talk to so many people and let them know that, like, oh you are so far from the truth? Like, that is so far from my heart. That is so far from who I am."
"I know a lot of women in my industry fight for pay equity amongst their male counterparts, but not against one another. We should be helping one another make more with each other," she continued. "... So I felt their pain and I will always apologize sincerely from the bottom of my heart if I caused pain on anyone because that is not who I am. But that felt really far left field for me. That felt real out of context. And I just didn't know how to control that."
Rodriguez continued, telling the hosts that, through her production company, she tries to empower all women.
"With my production company, that's all I do is try to create that room, not limit it and definitely not limit it to just my community that I associated with, that also includes Black Latinos," she said. "I feel like people forget that I advocate for all Latinos, not just the reflection of myself. That's the only way to do that as a producer and that's what I'm doing."
"So, if I have hurt you, I am sorry and I will always be sorry, but you have to know that, until you know my heart, there's no way that we can live off clickbait, you guys! Read, look into somebody, who they are, because right now we're living in a culture that is very, very terrifying," she continued. "You make one misstep, or one mistake saying something that is out of context and all of a sudden anything you've ever done is deleted. Any work you've ever done is deleted and that's very difficult."
"You are allowed to feel pain and I empathize with your pain and I'm sorry if I caused your pain because it is the last thing I want to do," she added. "... The fact was just told to let us all say, when we talk about pay equity, we all gotta rise together. We gotta make sure we got each other's back... We don't need to fight each other and if I caused that notion, please forgive me because that is not my intent at all."
ET recently caught up with Rodriguez and her Miss Bala co-star, Anthony Mackie, who gushed over Rodriguez's new role as Carmen Sandiego. Watch the interview in the video below: