A 2016 Lazaro “Laz” Alonso interview clip is making the rounds again, and I’m convinced it’ll eventually end up in digital textbooks composed of enlightening tweets and TikTok videos. Juggling a whirlwind conversation with Hollywood Unlocked co-hosts Melyssa Ford and Jason Lee, the Cuban actor touches on everything from politics to his sex life to Afro-Latindad in the utmost mature manner.
Toward the middle of the hour-and-a-half hour interview, the subject of the Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton election (yeah, sorry to take us back there) came up, and he expressed concern about the potential undoing of years of progress. In referring to the danger of Trump’s rhetoric and his presidency’s potential to wipe out the 51 years of progress in the Black community, Alonso consistently included himself in the group with the overt, repetitive use of the “we” label. His friend Melyssa, peeped that and said, “You keep saying ‘we’… and [talking about] your connection to the Black community, but you’re Cuban.”
Alonso, likely accustomed to the bewildered look shooting back at him, didn’t hesitate to say “I’m Black first.”
The 45-year-old actor, best known for his work on Fast & Furious and Avatar, was born in Washington D.C. to Cuban parents. He comes off as secure in who he is and how he identifies within the Latin diaspora. “We all come from the same root; it’s just a tree with different branches,” he says to Lee. “The same boat that picked up your ancestors picked up my ancestors, only they dropped yours off here. They made a pit stop in the Carribean and dropped mine off.”
Toward the end of their chat, Alonso said he feels it’s his God-given mission to inspire. As the conversation around Afro-Latindad (and the choice to identify as Black instead) continues, his evergreen explanation on how he came to be and the multilayered facets of identity are a lesson for all.
“We get caught up in where the ship dropped us off versus where the ship picked us up,” he insists. “We all come from the same root.”
Check out a clip of the interview below.