Jennifer Lopez Does Not Represent Latin Culture, Says Edward James Olmos

Niki Cruz - Author

May 2 2014, Updated 3:25 p.m. ET

Jennifer Lopez is known for being one of the most popular Latin crossover artists of our time, but according to her Selena co-star Edward James Olmos, she hasn’t done the best job of keeping up her end of the job for the Latin community.

Edward James Olmos is an established actor who’s known for his influence in the Latino community, and works hard to bridge the gap between American culture and Latino culture. In the past the actor has been very vocal about his heritage, so it isn’t a big surprise that he has a strong opinion on Jennifer Lopez and her position in Hollywood.

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According to the actor, Lopez isn’t doing enough to make sure she influences the Latin culture positively. Olmos spoke about a conversation they had while making the 1997 film Selena. At the time it was Lopez’s first giant role, and transitioned Lopez into more roles and music opportunities that would eventually turn her into the star that she is today.

The Machete actor insists that Latinos have a certain amount of responsibility to promote the culture. In his opinion Lopez dropped the ball on that even though they had a conversation about her position in Hollywood.

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“I told her, ‘You have to understand that the future is in your hands, and I hope you use it not only to advance who you are but also to promote what we represent, as Latino women and men. She has done a lot of things, but she has not dedicated herself to her culture, and that is the most important thing to me.”

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Of her starring role in the film Selena Olmos said that the role helped Lopez to get “to a stardom that she would not have been able to reach without that film.”

Jennifer Lopez wasn’t his only target. Olmos made an example out of Andy Garcia, who is Cuban-American and has been in the industry for decades. In terms of Garcia, he alludes that while the actor says he is proud of his Latino roots, “They don’t like the limitations of being a Latino; they only want to be artists. I am a Latino artist.”

Of being Latino, Olmos said:

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“I love being Latino. It’s a love that I have that comes from a deep sense of pride.”

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In addition to starring in Selena with Jennifer Lopez, Olmos has been in Blade Runner, Miami Vice, and Battlestar Galactica.


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