Rita Moreno – Driving Force (commonplace 14)

Portrait of actress Rita Moreno.

I’m currently writing a paper on the under-representation of Latinx (neutral term to refer to both Latinos/as) in my Reflection of American Society on Stage class. I truly had no game plan when it came to writing this paper, as a person who is Haitian (as stated in the previous post)  with Cuban descent I felt that it would be interesting to touch base on another part of my culture and ethnic identity. Similar to Blacks in America, Latinx have had similar experiences where they are not given the outlet to express their creativity and be respected in popular culture. However, when Latinx artist was given the opportunity show their talent, they did it very well. For example, Rita Moreno got the role of the fiery Anita in 1961 movie rendition of West Side Story. Though there was controversy over the depiction of Puerto Ricans in the movie where in reality many of the characters  (besides Anita) were being played by white actors in brownface. However, Moreno used her platform to show that she was a talent and a force to be reckoned with. From her performance in West Side Story, Rita Moreno won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Anita, becoming the first Hispanic actress to receive the coveted Oscar. Moreno was able to utilize and perhaps even transcend her initial image to become a respected performer with a long career.

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