HBO’s Insecure has been one of the bigger hits for the cable network in the last two years. The mainly black show, now in its sophomore year, has injected a few Latinisms into its episodes as of late. There is little doubt Insecure is casting a wider net and hoping to attract more Latino eyeballs while also depicting the variety of experiences across the African diaspora.
Granted, some of the efforts are more prominent than others. Case in point: subtly adding nachos to a staff meeting. Or, more obviously by having main character Issa add a “Latin Lover” to her ho-tation and quickly calling out her stereotypical caricatures of him. Even more so, by suggesting that she herself is racist against poor Latino kids – the very ones that she is paid to help at the after-school program organized by her non-profit employer We Got Y’all. The latter is a story line that has been brewing for three episodes and will likely come to a head on this week’s season finale.
For those who have eagle eyes, this latest episode squeezed in the man who uttered a long time favorite mating call (if you will) among Latinos: “Give me some chon chon!” It’s a saying responsible for countless memes despite that it originated almost a quarter century ago on the big screen in Blood in, Blood Out. Many a man has demanded the same ever since.
Carlos Carrasco appeared on the HBO hit as the father of Dro the Afro-Latino schoolyard friend of Molly. From his brief appearance, the audience is led to believe that Carrasco’s character Jorge Peña is a man true to his roots. Speaking Spanish, he interacts briefly with Molly while celebrating her parents’ renewal of their vows. His casting helps to add authenticity and validity to the show’s storyline, as his street cred is undeniable as a Latino actor.
It would seem that Jorge Peña is a 180 degree turn from Popeye, the snitch pimp that Carrasco immortalized some 25 years ago. Blood In, Blood Out featured a young Latino cast that included the likes of Benjamin Bratt, Danny Trejo, Enrique Castillo, Jesse Borrego, and Raymond Cruz. Even though the film was released in 1993, it highlights issues we face today – prison gangs, white privilege, and addiction – making it timeless.
Carrasco brought to life a character that had a cadence to his speech, a sway to his walk, and a special selling out quality that made him one of the most selfish characters in the flick. If you haven’t seen it, do it now. It’s everything you never knew you were missing in life. Even with the very brief screen time, his latest role is a far cry from that.
Will we see more of him on Insecure? Not likely, but we can only hope. For the big time Carrasco Crusader it might be time to light a candle and have faith that we will continue to see more of him anywhere. If the trend continues, Latinos are likely to get more authentic injections into TV shows and movies – especially ones that showcase other cultures.