The Nosotros Foundation’s 2nd Annual Ya Tu Sabes Monologue Slam has named Pierre Jean Gonzalez and Desiree Carcamo as this year’s competition winners. Gonzalez took home the acting prize for “Brown Billboards” and Carcamo earned the writing prize for her monologue “Not All Tamales Look the Same.”
Nosotros is the oldest Latino arts advocacy non-profit organization in the United States. It was founded by late acting legend Ricardo Montalbán (TV’s Fantasy Island) in 1970. The slam, which showcases Latinx talent from across the U.S. and Latin America, was a process that took seven months to complete. It concluded with an online event that streamed earlier this month.
Before his performance, Gonzalez spoke about what resonated with him about the monologue he performed. The piece, he says, describes how some Latinx feel they are represented in the entertainment industry. “Brown Billboards” was written by Sedrick Cabrera.
“You turn these beautiful people into these generic caricatures of themselves,” Gonzalez says during his performance. “You sacrifice our culture and humanity all in the name of your brand.”
Carcamo was inspired to write “Not All Tamales Look the Same” because she wanted to say something about Latinx culture and identity. “Honestly, my whole life I’ve really been insecure about that,” Carcamo says. “In the United States, there is so much diversity. I never want to take that away from people.”
Her piece was performed during the online event by actress Jacqueline Guillen. “The only reason I listen to white-people music is because I went to an all-white high school” Guillen says, performing Carcamo’s monologue. “I’ve never felt less Latina my entire life.”
Gonzalez and Carcamo were told they won the monologue slam during a Zoom call. “I’ve been wanting to do this all my life,” Gonzalez says when he finds out. “I want to be a leading man. We deserve that. People like me deserve that. [This win] brings me one step closer.”
Carcamo was overcome with emotion when she learned she won. “This just means so much to me,” she says. “We all live together—my grandparents, my mom and me. It’s always been this expectation like, ‘OK, Desiree, we don’t know when, but at some point, you’re going to need to take over [and] be an adult for once.”
Whether that time is now for Carcamo remains to be seen, but her and Gonzalez’s wins should be inspiring evidence to all Latinx performers and writers who are interested in breaking out into the world of acting, screenwriting and literature.