“The backlash was devastating to say the least,” the 34-year-old said as she began crying.
“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 added. “So to get anti-black is saying that I’m anti-family.”
Rodriguez said that she’d “never said anything controversial about anybody” and added that her father is dark-skinned and Afro-Latino, a claim that some on social media questioned.
“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,” the actress added.
“I know my intention. The last thing I’d want to do is put two underrepresented groups against each other,” she added.
During a Net-a-Porter roundtable last November with Ellen Pompeo, Emma Roberts and Gabrielle Union, the “Jane the Virgin” actress made comments about equal pay ― specifically that black women are paid more than Latinx women ― and that comment caused a firestorm of controversy.
“I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay, especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it,” she said during the talk. “Where white women get paid more than black women, and black women get paid more than Asian women, Asian women get paid more than Latina women, and it’s like a very scary space to step into.”
While many perceived it as Rodriguez speaking about the entertainment industry, the actress insisted she was speaking about the pay gap in general for women of color.
Previously, Rodriguez also received backlash over an interjection she made after actress Yara Shahidi was asked a question during an interview. When the interviewer asked Shahidi whether she thought she was a role model for black women, Rodriguez replied by saying she was a role model all women. The Root’s Tonja Renée Stidhum later said was Rodriguez basically “All-Lives-Matter[ing] the interviewer.”
She also faced criticism over a comment she made in the wake of Marvel’s “Black Panther,” when she tweeted, “Marvel and DC are killing it in inclusion and women but where are the Latinos?!”
Marvel and DC are killing it in inclusion and women but where are the Latinos?! Asking for a friend...
— Gina Rodriguez (@HereIsGina) July 23, 2017
Some took her comments as detracting from “Black Panther’s achievements as well as erasing black Latina women who have appeared in superhero movies.
It is quite possible for Gina Rodriguez to advocate for better Latinx representation without constantly evoking African American advances in a way that implies they're part of the problem. If she refuses to learn that, her cultural activism actually perpetuates the problem.
— Sofia Quintero (@sofiaquintero) November 24, 2018
Which is why many thought that Rodriguez’s apology this week wasn’t quite enough:
Your face as a BW when Gina Rodriguez is anti-Black & then goes on Sway to cry about how mean it is that we’re calling her anti-Black & then points out how White and Asian folx aren’t mad at her even though she’s never put them down, which just furthers her anti-Blackness: pic.twitter.com/tL1WRADELy
— Clarkisha “Neck-Rolling Hood Rat” Kent (@IWriteAllDay_) January 23, 2019
Gina Rodriguez has never acknowledged Afro-Latinxs, always interjects when black people have a spotlight on them to direct the attention back to white Latinxs and now she’s crying about being called anti-black. cry me a river
— joc 💜 (@ricenbeanss) January 23, 2019
Gina Rodriguez could easily acknowledge that her past comments were antiblack (regardless of if she didn't intend them to be) and learn to do better and grow but she rather play victim
— destiny's play cousin (@bluinmoonlight) January 23, 2019
Here's Gina Rodriguez crying because she's been rightfully called anti-black pic.twitter.com/6YcX4AO7jT
— fiona apple bottom jeans (@danielleisback_) January 23, 2019
Gina rodriguez calling her father dark skin when he’s 1 shade darker than her has spun me.
— i too am a darkskinned afro latina 🇪🇺🇳🇬 (@angehieux) January 23, 2019
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.