Gina Rodriguez Champions for Inclusivity, Diversity at CW Upfront: TV Has ‘Super Power to Heal’

Gina Rodriguez CW Upfront
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Gina Rodriguez wooed advertisers on Thursday morning at The CW’s Upfront with an atypical strategy — by speaking from the heart.

The “Jane the Virgin” star, who’s become known for utilizing her platform to spread messages of inclusivity, took advantage of The CW stage to get “real.”

Speaking at the New York City advertising event that typically shies away from deep conversation, and focuses on programming and sales data, Rodriguez greeted the audience of ad-buyers with this opening: “I’m going to pose a crazy thought, let’s take a moment to get real — I mean, like, really real. Let’s put the presentation on pause and open our hearts. I am an artist, and I see the world through that lens.”

Rodriguez — who was introduced as one of the two Golden Globe winners at The CW, alongside Rachel Bloom, who performed with her “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” cast at the Upfront — then spoke about the power of television to unify audiences, shedding a light on the current state of politics and divisiveness in the country.

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“What I find so beautiful and magical about art is it’s super power is to heal,” Rodriguez said. “It tears down misconceptions, creates pathways for empathy and opens our eyes to the beauty of our differences. Television has the power to bring someone into your living room that you may not have had the opportunity to have met in any other scenario. We can’t be everything at once — straight, gay, black, Latino, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, male, female — but we can learn about what we are not through art. And that is where the healing begins.”

She then related the themes of diversity, inclusivity, and unity to The CW’s programming, which includes her series that is centered around a Latino young woman.

“The CW uses its platform to build bridges of understanding through inclusion and equality,” Rodriguez said. “I mean, we got five female-led shows from virgins, to crazy ex-girlfriends to superheroes — and just wait ’til next season. The CW gets more expansive, innovative, and revolutionary in its storytelling each and every year, which is why I am so incredibly proud to be a part of this network [and] to be led by a man, Mark Pedowitz, who wants to help heal the world one character at a time,” she said, introducing the network’s president.

“To all the advertisers who have supported this network’s journey to creating stories that reflect what America truly looks like — a melting pot of cultures, religions, ethnicities — thank you. And to those that have yet to join, the doors are wide open because we can’t do this alone.”

Thursday’s Upfront is not the first time Rodriguez has stunned with her words. When she won her first Golden Globe for “Jane the Virgin,” her acceptance speech wowed the audience, critics, and fans. “This award is so much more than myself. It represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes. My father used to tell me to say every morning, ‘Today is going to be a great day. I can and I will.’ Well, dad, today is a great day. I can and I did,” she said at the 2015 Golden Globes. Her “I can and I will” mantra then became the tagline for The CW’s Emmy campaign for “Jane the Virgin,” and now is the name of her company, I Can and I Will Productions.

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  1. A conference fan says:

    I’m all about equality and exposure but CW really tries to force the political agendas down our throats. And they are so obvious about it, not even an attempt to be subtle at all. All I really watch are the DC shows and they’re not very smooth with portrayal of the gay community. In fact, they have Sarah Lance being bipolar. I don’t find her character believable because she yoyos between men, such as Snart, and women but treat her like she’s an exclusive lesbian. She was dating her sister’s bf. Normally, that would be the line not to cross, reinforce that with being a lesbian. But somehow, they still happened. Or ethnicities. It seems they have a particular favoritism towards Judaism because in every DC series, they reference that but not any other culture really other than referring to location or its connection to the plot. It was painfully obvious and forced when Felicity insisted the Christmas party be called a “holiday party” because she didn’t wanna others (her) to feel left out because of their beliefs (her being Jewish) and I’ve never seen her character aside from that portray any Jewish traits unlike the more pronounced gay characters. I watched Marvel’s Daredevil and the main character incorporates his Catholic beliefs very naturally. CW should take a page out of Marvel’s book. In fact, the Marvel series have rarely if ever gave me a moment to roll my eyes in response to. I would have thought at one point, the Indian Captain Singh would have tied in his culture somehow to his sexual orientation. A lot of bad writing on that show. I’m just a fan who the CW is slowly losing if they don’t fix their obvious attempts at forcing us to accept their ideology. How about you give us what we want instead of telling us what we want? It’s noble that you guys are sticking up for others but this is just overkill and people don’t like to be told what to believe in and accept. These things are done slowly and with tact.

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