Ariana DeBose: Openly Queer Afro-Latina Who Found Her Strength Through Art

April 27, 2022
Carola Orbuch

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Class of 2024

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And the Oscar goes to… Ariana DeBose! That’s right, the amazing Puerto Rican, African-American actress, singer, and dancer just won her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as “Anita” in the 2022 film adaptation of West Side Story. But what does this mean for the Latin community?

If you weren’t aware, Ariana DeBose is thriving on-screen, rapidly achieving star-level status. Having started her career on the Broadway Stage, DeBose hasn’t failed to amaze us, project after project. On the night of the 27th, she was awarded her first Academy Award. As a Latina myself, seeing a girl just like me winning an Oscar has induced pure joy and pride. Having admired DeBose since her ensemble role in the Tony award-winning musical Hamilton as “The Bullet,” watching her accept her very well deserved golden statue was heart-melting. My eyes watered and tears dropped. 

“An openly Queer woman of color and Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through art.” That’s one of the most emotional phrases I’ve heard, and it is so beautiful. Ariana DeBose has been and will continue to be the most iconic Queer, Afro-Latina woman in entertainment. 

So, what does this mean for DeBose and the Latin-American community's future in the industry? Latin-American stories, actors, and filmmakers can and are establishing their spot in the Hollywood scene. This ensures that there is a place for every Latin American to express themselves and find their strength through art. We can see this rapid change through movies like Encanto, In the Heights, and West Side Story. Actors and actresses such as Ariana DeBose, Stephanie Beatriz, and filmmakers like Lin-Manuel Miranda can openly express their Latin-American identity. 

As a Latina myself, I thank Debose and many other actors, directors, singers, songwriters, and everyone who is taking part in the improvement of the Latin-American representation on screen. All of these people, and especially DeBose have been role models for me and many others who are trying to find their way into the arts as Latinos. Ariana: Thank you for being Latina, and congratulations on the Oscar!

Caro Orbuch is a BBG from BBYO: Argentina and loves painting!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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