‘Leguizamo Does America’ takes viewers on a street journey, Latino model – Alokito Mymensingh 24

John Leguizamo gives easy inspiration for his latest sequence.

“I needed to do a present the place folks see that and say, ‘I wish to be Latino!’ or ‘Rattling, too unhealthy I’m not Latino!’”

Leguizamo, the acclaimed actor, comic, producer and activist, takes viewers on a journey because the host of “Leguizamo Does America,” a six-part docuseries that premieres Sunday on MSNBC and streams on Peacock. Produced by NBC Information Studios, every episode focuses on a unique metropolis – Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Washington, DC – and their distinctive Latino heritage, whereas Leguizamo explores their tradition, folks, monuments, meals and eating places researched. One episode focuses on Puerto Rico, a US territory.

John Leguizamo in Chicago.
Actor Michael Peña takes Leguizamo on a tour of his favourite locations in Chicago, the place he grew up and the place his household lives. MSNBC

Leguizamo takes viewers from the soundstage in Hollywood to a salsa competition in New York’s Spanish Harlem and to a sacred Native American ceremony in Puerto Rico – whereas additionally exploring the contribution of Latinos to American life.

“Latinx historical past is American historical past,” Leguizamo says in one of many episodes, noting that Latinos have performed a pivotal function from the Revolutionary Struggle to the start of hip-hop.

Leguizamo Does America will be seen as a part of the rising development of movie star journey reveals like Eva Longoria: Looking for Mexico (CNN) and Right down to Earth with Zac Efron (Netflix). Leguizamo’s present covers many areas, from the origins of the well-known New York bodegas or nook store to the resident Latina conductor on the Los Angeles Opera. It options performances by well-known actors reminiscent of George Lopez, Gina Torres, Diane Guerrero and Michael Peña – who takes Leguizamo to his household’s well-known domino video games in Chicago – in addition to notable figures reminiscent of Broadway director/choreographer Sergio Trujillo, Voto Latino María Teresa Kumar and clothier Raul Lopez.

John Leguizamo in New York.
The present explores artwork, meals, and historic locations whereas additionally partaking in conversations on Latino points, tradition, and id. MSNBC

However “Leguizamo Does America” ​​isn’t shy about addressing points roiling the Latino neighborhood. In New York, Leguizamo is internet hosting a cocktail party, becoming a member of comedian-actress Aida Rodriguez and others to deal with the controversy over the phrase “Latinx,” a gender-neutral various to Latino or Latina — and why it’s so polarizing for some.

In Los Angeles, Leguizamo talks to tv producer Gloria Calderón Kellett concerning the problem of writing Latino tales. Due to the range and complexity of Latinos, “we’re a tricky viewers as a result of there’s been such a starvation for illustration that if there’s one factor, it represents us all higher,” she says.

In Miami, actress and playwright Carmen Pelaez explains how immigration continues to rework politics in her hometown. “Miami is the shore the place the folks of each failed authorities in Latin America land. … You possibly can inform from the accent you hear on the road in Miami which authorities is at the moment failing in Latin America.”

John Leguizamo in Miami.
At a Peruvian feast at certainly one of Miami’s prime eating places, Ceviche 105, restaurateur Juan Chipoco shares his inspirational success story. MSNBC

From his early days as a solo theater performer in New York Metropolis to his well-known roles in movie and tv, Leguizamo, 62, has had an extended and assorted profession. He acquired a particular Tony Award for his Broadway present Latin Historical past for Morons in 2018 and acquired Critic’s Alternative and Emmy nominations for his function as Raymond Santana Sr. within the Netflix sequence When They See Us. Lately he has emerged as an advocate for the Latino neighborhood and has lent his voice to the battle for extra Latino illustration within the leisure trade.

One in all his causes for doing the present was that “It takes a very long time for Latino children to know that they’ve one thing to be happy with, that the whole lot they’re is gorgeous and highly effective.”

Leguizamo stated most individuals — together with many Latinos — didn’t know that Manhattan’s first non-Indigenous resident was a Dominican (Juan Rodriguez) or that certainly one of tv’s early moguls was Latino (Desi Arnaz). “This nation wasn’t made with out us,” he stated. “It was made for us.”


“A present for each viewers”

Ben DeJesus, the present’s director, stated the sequence was “one of the life-changing experiences of my profession,” including, “We consider that is one thing value celebrating: our Latino tradition and the richness of our meals, our music and our activism. There’s plenty of Latin themes and folks, but it surely’s actually a present for every type of audiences.”

Other than the content material, DeJesus, 46, is especially happy with the truth that the manufacturing group for “Leguizamo” included many Latinos. “John really talked about to us that in his 30+ years within the enterprise he had by no means seen so many Latin names on a name log,” DeJesus stated. “It was intentional – and necessary to us – to incorporate as many Latino crew members and employees as doable and provides them alternatives to contribute their skills.”

For govt producer Carolina Saavedra, one of many highlights of the present was a go to to the Gala Hispanic Theater in Washington, DC. “Seeing the youngsters within the theater program there actually touched me,” she stated. “As an immigrant youngster, it introduced again the expertise of coming to this nation, feeling alienated and initially being appeared down on as a result of we don’t converse the language. Seeing the youngsters at Gala Theater have a secure area to specific their ache, to specific themselves, jogged my memory of the sweetness and worth of this group.”

John Leguizamo in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico’s African roots are a giant a part of its musical traditions, which have been carried on for generations. MSNBC
John Leguizamo in Puerto Rico.
Leguizamo will get a cooking lesson from chef Raúl Correa at Bacoa, a Puerto Rico restaurant thought of top-of-the-line within the world that emphasizes cooking in a fogon, or hearth. MSNBC

Saavedra described engaged on Leguizamo Does America as “probably the most significant job of my profession.”

“I’ve all the time needed to inform tales about actual folks, tales that transfer folks and spark conversations, tales about class, race and gender,” she stated. “All of this stuff are my ardour, and this present has allowed me to try this.”

“I needed to ensure this was an entertaining present, an ingratiating present for any neighborhood that watches it, but additionally one which’s particular to our Latino expertise, which incorporates each pleasure and hardship,” she added.

Leguizamo hopes the sequence will encourage a brand new era of Latino students and artists.

“Someplace on the market are extra children, children like us,” he says on the present, “ready to see their tales on stage, on display screen, their faces, their lives. And so they can – if we give them an opportunity.”

The present premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

Peter Johnson