Rosie Perez, one of the most distinctive voices in American film, is also an activist. She’s serves on the president’s advisory council on HIV/AIDs and makes a point to speak up on the issues that matter to her.
She made waves in the 2012 election when she made a YouTube video mocking Mitt Romney for claiming he’d have an easier time getting elected if he were Latino.
On PoliticsNation, Perez said the video was inspired by Romney’s appearance on Univision in September when he seemed to have gotten a spray tan (it turned out it was just an orange make-up job). “I said ‘oh come on!” and you had to say something!” She also said she was wanted to do it “for the 47%.”
Romney’s post-election remarks claiming Obama won reelection because he gave gifts to certain voters upset Perez even more. “It’s a prejudiced statement plain and simple. What is he implying? That every single African-American, every single Latino American is poor? Is on public welfare?” she asked. “I guess he did not learn anything from his loss.”
Perez also took on the idea that there was something wrong with the welfare benefits that Romney was referring to with his “gifts” line, asking “What is the problem with gifts? I was a person who received gifts.” And being on the receiving end wasn’t pleasant. “Going to school with a lunch card was very hard. Standing on line to receive a block of cheese was very hard. Wearing hand-me-downs to school was very hard.”
She credited welfare with giving her the help she needed to get to the point where she no longer needed government assistance. “Yes, my aunt was on welfare, but am I? No.”
Perez also took a moment to commend President George W. Bush for speaking positively about immigrants. She predicted that the Latino force in America will push politicians towards immigration reform in the near future. “We are growing in numbers, we are recognizing our power, we are utilizing our power, and we will continue to do so.”
The accomplished actress told PoliticsNation host Rev. Al Sharpton that she’s grateful for the attention she’s able to draw to causes she cares about. “One of the greatest gifts that I’ve received in my life is this, is the opportunity to say something and have a platform.”