John Leguizamo is an actor with a 30-year career in film, television and theater, as well as an activist educating people about Latino history in the United States.
The famous 62-year-old's passion for education inspired the satirical Broadway comedy “Latin History for Morons,” which premiered in 2017. In the show, he questioned the absence of Latinos in U.S. history. And since then, his fight has not stopped.
Hoy Día spoke with the actor about his project “Leguizamo Does America,” a six-episode docuseries that will premiere on April 16 on MSNBC. The show will focus on the contributions of Latinos in the food industry, culture and activism. In it, he travels to large cities in the United States such as New York and Miami.
Leguizamo stressed that Latinos should not be afraid to raise their voices when it comes to making a change in the film industry.
“I think they must do what I am doing: complain. They must complain. We have to protest, we have to make noise so that they hear that we are not happy with the representation,” he said.
Along these same lines, the actor spoke of the possible repercussions: “I am not afraid. I grew up in this country, I suffered a lot, I fought a lot, and all my life my opportunities were a thousand. And I knew at that moment that even if I was super smart and super talented, I would never have the same opportunities.”
John Leguizamo is proud of his work as an activist
With a smile on his face, Leguizamo said: “I am so proud of this project because we celebrate everything that represents being Latino.”
“We go to six cities in the United States and I interview the Latino community: Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Mexicans, Dominicans, Colombians, Venezuelans, Peruvians, everyone, with a variety of careers. There are artists, painters, dancers, businessmen, chefs, politicians. And one sees the power of the Latino community, the capacity and the talent that exists in this country,” he explained.
Regarding the representation of the Latino community in Hollywood, he said: “The problem is that the people who are making decisions do not look like us, so they are not giving the green light on projects that are for Latinos.”
"I knew that even if I was super smart and talented, I would never have the same opportunities."
“We are 1% of the protagonists in the movies, less than a percent of the stories they are telling and that is not right. The challenge is to have at least 20% of (representation with) the executives, the protagonists in front of the camera, the team behind the camera, that would be equality,” he concluded.
The actor also has another project on the horizon that will arrive in the fall on PBS, the documentary “American Historia.” In it, he discusses the history of America from a Latino perspective to shine the light on the lost Latino heroes within the community. It also features interviews with historians and cultural figures.
This article has been translated from Spanish and was originally published on Telemundo.com.