According to the publication, his character, Dro, was originally supposed to be Black and Mexican but Jackson flipped the scripted, insisting on him having Panamanian heritage.
“I don’t think people realize when you go to Panama you’re going to see a lot of us,” he told Ebony. “There are a lot of us. So many Black people. I wanted to tap in a little more with the Afro-Latino.”
Jackson’s push for his character’s Panamanian background also opened the door for another Panamanian actor, veteran performer Carlos Carrasco, who plays Dro’s father.
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“That’s why I was so happy when I was able to give another Panamanian actor another opportunity,” he continued. “He’s been in this business for a long time. He was in Speed with Sandra Bullock. He’s been in this for a minute. He’s Panamanian and this is the first time he’s ever portrayed a Panamanian character.”
The 29-year-old hopes their roles on the hit HBO series will lead to more representation.
“I do want more of that. There’s some stories I’d like to create,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be about them being Afro-Latino. It could be like Creed, except Michael B. Jordan is Dominican … it could just be sprinkled in there. Just have a flag on his wall, you know?”
He also hopes the representation will clear up the confusion among many Afro-Latinx people who recoil from identifying as Black.
“Some of them are confused about who they are,” he noted. “The comedian Godfrey has a great clip when he’s like ‘No no no no…I’m no Black, I’m Dominican.’ He was like ‘you look like me!’”
Scroll up and watch Jackson explain it via the YouTube clip above.