Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Tenoch Huerta (credited in the film as Tenoch Huerta Mejía) says his version of Marvel’s Namor has already had a very noticeable — and very positive — effect on the Latin American community, particularly among brown-skinned individuals.
During an interview with Rolling Stone, Huerta was asked if he had seen anything that really made the impact of Wakanda Forever‘s meaningful Latin American representation sink in. “I think there is something weird in Latin America… well, it’s not weird, it’s normal,” the actor replied. “In Latin America, especially in Mexico — to be white in Mexico is exactly the same as being white in the States, exactly the same to be white in London, England, or to be white in Europe. The only thing is when the white people from Mexico moves to the States, they are Latins. But if they come back to Mexico, they reserve all the privilege, exactly the same as in [the] United States. So speaking from that point, the representation is important for all the people in Latin America. I hate to say Latins, because America’s a continent. But you take the name for you, and then you make the difference calling us Latin Americans,” he laughed. “But all of us, we’re Americans.”
Huerta continued, “The thing is, Latin America’s a region, we share the language — and that’s it. We have different cultures, we have different ways of life, we have different points of views, and we solve the problems of our life in a different way. That is the diversity in Latin America, and I love it. It’s beautiful. But I think it’s more about the brown-skinned people because being white in Latin America, as I mentioned before, is the same as being white in States. So the people who live in Latin America, all of them feel represented and that’s beautiful for me. It’s an honor.”
He elaborated, “But something different is happening for the brown-skinned people in Latin America, whether we are mixed or indigenous — it doesn’t matter too much. Of course, Indigenous peoples have another history and they have other oppressions, other experiences. But I think in general terms, the brown-skinned people feel more attached [to] the character. That’s my perception, because a lot of messages are coming from social media and most of them are from brown-skinned people saying, ‘Hey, man, finally I feel proud of my color of skin. Finally, I can feel represented. Finally, I can see someone like me. He’s not just a superhero, he’s a person like me in a powerful role, in a powerful movie making this strong representation.'”
Huerta concluded, “So even though all the Latin Americans, white or Black or brown or whatever, feel represented, I think what is happening with the brown-skinned people is something different. I think it’s more powerful, it’s more intimate, and it affects all of them in a different way. That’s my perception and, of course, my perception is it comes from social media and all these beautiful expression they are making about the character.” The actor is also well aware that Latinos have “made a couple of murals of the character, and there’s even a torta store that has the image of Namor now. Because it became something cultural, and people are embracing this character. That’s pretty fantastic. I don’t want to be disrespectful with all the people in Latin America, of course. And I feel proud to be an inhabitant of this region of the world. But yeah, I’m thinking the impact to the brown-skinned people is different.
Created by Bill Everett, Namor (also known as the Sub-Mariner) first appeared in the uncirculated Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1, cover-dated April 1939. The character then made his first appearance for Timely Comics (the publisher that would eventually become Marvel Comics) in Marvel Comics #1, released August 1939. In the comics, Namor is the anti-hero ruler of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, with his introduction having pre-dated that of DC’s Aquaman by two years.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, Huerta’s Namor instead rules the underwater kingdom of Talokan, inspired by Aztec and Mayan culture. Talokan resides in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Yucatán. Huerta was himself born in Ecatepec, Mexico. He is partially of Nahua and Purépecha descent, though does not self-identify as Indigenous. Prior to joining the MCU as Namor, he starred in such television shows as Narcos: Mexico and in such films as The Forever Purge.
See Namor rule Talokan in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, in theaters now.
Source: Rolling Stone