John Leguizamo used to stay out of the sun to stay "light-skinned" for acting roles
The 57-year-old actor - who played Bruno in Disney's animated blockbuster 'Encanto' and has appeared in the likes of 'John Wick', 'Romeo + Juliet' and 'ER' over the years - has opened up about the challenges of breaking into Hollywood as a Latino performer.
29 January 2022
The Colombian-born star told the Academy Awards' Seen series: "I definitely would not go in the sun for years. It was a conscious thing because I could work.
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"And all the Latinos that made it so far, a lot of them were all light-skinned. What happened to all the Afro-Latinos and the majority of indigenous Latinos? They don't get a shot, you know.
"So, there's a lot of things we got to deal with in Hollywood, and we got to fix, and we got to speak out and we got to speak up."
John has addressed racial injustices towards Latinx performers in the past, and in 2020 he boycotted the Emmy Awards for snubbing the community.
Now, the 'When They See Us' star has pointed out issues with representation in the film and TV industry, and the roles that are available.
He said: "How do you create a Latin star in America when the roles are one-dimensional and not worthy of awards?
"The ugly question is, why are Latin people not succeeding? What's the ugly question? Are we not smart enough? Not talented enough? Not good-looking enough? Not hardworking enough?
"No, none of those stereotypes and racist ideas because nobody tries harder with less access."
He pointed out that while Latinx actors usually perform characters with "a negative portrayal", but he thinks things are changing.
He added: "So not only are we invisible, but when we are seen, it's a negative portrayal... Things are improving. I think COVID made us really look at ourselves in America.
"Black Lives Matter was a huge awakening for America, a reboot for America to look at themselves and see what's going on. I think everybody's trying to do the right thing and hire many more people of colour.
"What I want to see, I want to see 20 percent of the roles in front of the camera and the crew. I'm not asking for extra. I just want what's due to us."