“I just wanted to reach out and apologize. I am sorry. I am sorry if I offended anyone by singing along to the Fugees — to a song I love, that I grew up on,” Rodriguez, 35, said in her video apology. “I love Lauryn Hill and I really am sorry if I offended you.”
Hours later, she issued a second apology on Instagram. “In song or in real life, the words that I spoke, should not have been spoken. I grew up loving the Fugees and Lauryn Hill. I thoughtlessly sang along to the lyrics of a favorite song, and even worse, I posted it. The word I sang, carries with it a legacy of hurt and pain that I cannot even imagine,” she wrote. “Whatever consequences I face for my actions today, none will be more hurtful than the personal remorse I feel. Watching my own video playing back at me, has shaken me to my core. It is humiliating that this has to be a public lesson but it is indeed a much deserved lesson. I feel so deeply protective and responsible to the community of color but I have let this community down. I have some serious learning and growing to do and I am so deeply sorry for the pain I have caused.”
In the video posted earlier on Tuesday, Rodriguez sang along to the Fugees song “Ready or Not” as she got her hair and makeup done. She then rapped the verse: “Voodoo; I can do what you do, easy / Believe me … n–gas give me heebie-jeebies.”
After uttering the n-word, the Jane the Virgin alum smiled and laughed.
Rodriguez’s controversial video and subsequent apology sparked a tweetstorm. One user argued that she “wins the award for the most half assed apology” and a second individual sarcastically remarked that they “love to end latinx heritage month with gina rodriguez saying the n-word.”
Another user noted that Rodriguez used the racial slur as if she were “a child flipping someone off from a bus for the first time, all feeble-like and with the nervous energy of doing something you know damn well you’re not supposed to be doing.”
“Black women BEEN telling y’all Gina Rodriguez was an anti-Black problem,” journalist Ernest Owens tweeted. “Shouldn’t have taken her to say the n-word before y’all woke up. But go off.”
Rodriguez has been accused of making anti-black comments before. In November 2018, the Golden Globe winner stated in a Net-a-Porter roundtable that black women get paid more than Latinas in the industry. The month before, when her Small Foot costar Yara Shahidi was asked in a paired interview specifically about being a role model for black women, Rodriguez interrupted to add: “So many women.”
She also faced criticism for tweeting about the inclusion of Latinx actors in Marvel and D.C. Comics movies in 2017 as Black Panther was announced. (At the time, Afro-Latina stars including Tessa Thompson and Zoe Saldana were a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)
Earlier this year, Rodriguez broke down in tears on Sway in the Morning while apologizing for the controversial comments she has previously made. She noted that the backlash was “was devastating to say the least,” adding that her father is dark-skinned and Afro-Latino — a comment that drummed up social media criticism.
“The black community was the only community I looked to growing up. We didn’t have that many Latino shows, so the black community made me feel like I was seen,” she said. “So to get anti-black is saying that I’m anti-family.”
She continued, “If anything, the black community is my community. When I speak about Latino advocacy, people think I’m only talking about people who are my skin color, but little do they know that I’m very aware of what my culture is. I know my intention. The last thing I’d want to do is put two underrepresented groups against each other.”
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