Puerto Rico’s Juano Hernandez, first Afro-Latino movie star
The film industry is not an easy one to get in nowadays. Imagine how it was back in 1932, especially for an Afro-Latino actor.
Juano Hernandez, a Puerto Rican born in 1896, made his movie debut in 1932 playing a Cuban in “The Girl from Chicago,” a Oscar Micheaux’s film for African American audiences.
It was not until 1949 though that he received public praise – and a Golden Globe nomination as best newcomer – for his role as Lucas Beauchamp in “Intruder in the Dust.”
According HOLA, “film historian Donald Bogle said ‘Intruder in the Dust’ broke new ground in the cinematic portrayal of blacks, and Hernandez’s ‘performance and extraordinary presence still rank above that of almost any other black actor to appear in an American movie.’”
Efrain Nieves and Victoria Cepeda of Pa’Lante Latino, recognize Hernandez as the first Afro-Latino to become a movie star and one of the first black movie stars in history:
“Although Puerto Ricans like Rita Moreno, Jose Ferrer and Benicio del Toro have won academy awards, it is men like Hernández that truly paved the way for Afro-Latinos and Blacks to earn recognition in an era where color did matter.”
In total, Hernandez participated in 23 films but never as the leading character.
- by Robert L. Brown, Jr.
- posted at 10:37 pm
- April 14, 2012