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More than an award: celebrating Ariana DeBose

Lissette Quiñones

Arts & Entertainment Editor

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Aside from the shocking and very unexpected events that happened on the night of the Academy Awards, one great takeaway was the presence of actress Ariana DeBose and the acknowledgements of her accomplishments.

Taking home the award for best supporting actress from her performance in the “West Side Story” film, meant more than just that honor.

With a heart warming acceptance speech, DeBose said:

“Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white ford Focus. When you look into her eyes you see an openly queer woman of color, an Afro Latina, who found her strength in life through art. And that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate,” breaking down barriers for many more to follow in her footsteps. Reassuring many aspiring artists who identify within many different communities, she continued to say “So to anybody who’s ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever, or you find yourself living in the grey spaces, I promise you this: there is indeed a place for us.”

Not only was her speech incredible, but the entire thing made history considering she has become the very first openly queer woman of color to win such an award. This night became historic for this array of reasons needless to say. DeBose openly identifies as a queer woman and she is Afro-Latina, having mixed descent of Puerto Rican, African American and Italian.

Coincidentally, Rita Moreno won the exact same award for the same role too, many years earlier when she starred in the original film released back in 1961.

Ariana DeBose’s performance as Anita in "West Side Story" has earned her a Golden Globe award, a BAFTA and also a SAG award, each solidifying her hardwork and determination to get to the position she’s in today.

Thanks to her, many fans have become more confident and most importantly, more comfortable with their identities and with their lifestyles. She has given more hope to the latinx community as well as the queer community, and for that we thank and praise her for her accomplishments and for the many more to come.


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