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Rosie Perez says Latinos need stories that are ‘specific’ to their culture

Perez has been a part of Hollywood over the past three decades.

Rosie Perez has been involved in Hollywood for decades. She was nominated for an Oscar in the Spike Lee film “Do The Right Thing” launching her career, throwing her into situations that made her reckon with the industry’s innate racism and misogyny.

In a new interview, Perez talked about Latinos in the industry and the type of work our community wants and needs in today’s entertainment.

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Perez and Spike Lee in 2014 at the 25th anniversary screening of “Do The Right Thing.”

In an interview with Variety, Perez discussed her prolific career. When discussing this year’s Academy Awards, she praised the work of Colin Farrell and the opportunity that he had with his performance to tell a story specific to his Irish heritage. “I think Brendan deserved the Oscar,” she said. “But I wouldn’t be mad if Colin had got it for ‘Banshees of Inisherin.’ He did something specific to his culture, right? How many other movies has he done that were specific to his culture?”

“That’s what we’re asking for as Latinos. We want to do things that are specific to our culture, to our story,” she said.

Perez talked about her experience as a Latina in Hollywood and how producers and executives ask her multiple things, often pulling her in different directions. “But it’s just not enough. And when we do get our stories told, we have some executive who knows nothing about who we are as a people. And then they’re like, ‘Can you spice it up a little bit?’ You want to punch these people in the face,” she said.

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Rosie Perez at last year’s Oscars

Perez made it clear that while she’s had success and incredible opportunities have come her way, it’s all been acquired through her own hard work, even when starting off at a disadvantage. “I’m sorry that I’m not happy when you’re asking me to be happy with the crumbs on the table,” she said.

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