Gina Rodriguez was trending on Twitter yesterday afternoon and not for the same reason as Jennifer Aniston, although it came from the same location. With Gina, it’s been a compound situation – click here for a recap of the Gina Rodriguez Controversy at The Cut from January 2019. Which brings us to now and this video that she posted to Instagram:
For those of you who are trying to be all, but those are the song lyrics, Lainey! Please allow Ta-Nehisi Coates to set you straight. Gina’s video is indefensible – it’s not just the use of the n-word but also the entitlement that preceded the posting of it, and then the actual posting of it. Three strikes in one post.
But then came her apology, the first one.
That tone. It’s not apologetic, it’s patronising. Especially at the end there, like she’s out of patience for you assholes popping off over her appreciation of Ms Lauryn Hill, what a waste of her time.
Several hours later, the second apology – an improvement:
This is the first time, after the multiples instances of bias, that Gina’s fully acknowledged that she has a blind spot and is taking responsibility for it. Those of us who’ve grown up in Western culture, we all have blind spots, because we’ve all been conditioned by white supremacy – even people of like colour can and have internalised racial bias, I know I have and likely still do. In this moment, we are all trying to unlearn, relearn, reset. Gina, hopefully, is finally unlearning, relearning, and resetting. There was a certain distance she had to travel to get there though, an accumulation of insensitive actions that happened in lower profile spaces, escalating to the point where she thought it’d be OK to post a video of herself singing the n-word, on a massively popular platform, resulting in widespread public outcry. This is what can happen when bias goes unchecked along the way. Or when criticism is unheeded along the way.
I wonder then who got through to her at rock bottom. Because someone had to have. Someone, or some people, reached out and told her to get out of her ass. And I don’t think it was just a manager or a publicist performing crisis management. Because if it was just about crisis management, she wouldn’t have written this: “The word I sang carries with it a legacy of hurt and pain that I cannot even imagine”. That, at least to me, says that there was a person or persons in her life who had the patience and the kindness to explain it to her, and take her to a place where she could see that this “public lesson” is “much deserved”. They’re doing the good work. And it is WORK. Often it’s work on top of trauma. It’s showing grace and compassion to the very people who did not extend grace and compassion to you in return. Raise a toast to that person or those persons today. Gina Rodriguez is lucky in so many ways – and she’s very, very lucky to have them. We should all be so lucky when we f-ck up, because we all do and will, to have people around us to show us the way out.
Yours in gossip,