Josephina Lopez was honored at this year’s Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, where she spoke about her struggles as a Latina actress and playwright in Hollywood.
Lopez was honored with the Distinguished Artist’s award by Eugene Lee and the Texas State department of theatre for her work in the arts community and her influence on the conference. Students performed excerpts from Lopez’s collection of work, listened to Lopez speak had a live questionnaire.
Lopez told her story of struggle with directors in Los Angeles, California. She explained the stories of her life as a woman and as a Latina actress. She said she has experienced racial discrimination, misogyny and body shaming. The audience had questions for her about how she overcame these issues to have a career in the acting and writing industry.
Lopez had issues finding leading roles for women, Latinas and herself. She took up playwriting to do something about the lack of representation, and despite running into countless rejections on her plays, Lopez has gone on to have a successful career and believes she paved the way for other Latina actresses in Hollywood.
“When you complain about something, after the fifth time, shut up about it,” Lopez said to the audience. “That’s when I took up writing.”
Daniella Treviño, fine arts acting freshman, performed two sections of a monologue from Lopez’s “Boyle Heights” which is about a young immigrant finding her home in California.
“It was so life-changing. It was so inspiring, so illuminating, it felt so good,” Treviño said. “It felt complete to see a woman of that stature with that power she holds with just her mind and a pen. She reminded me exactly what it was like, what it should be, to be okay with yourself, to be in touch with the world.”
Daniel Aguilar, theatre education senior, had a part in one of Lopez’s plays for the night.
“I originally got reached out to by Nadine Mozon, a faculty at Texas State,” Aguilar said. “And I think her writing hits home, where I didn’t know I would have felt it. I saw my family in her writing, I saw my family in herself and it was just a beautiful thing to experience.”
The audience was made up of theatre students and others of all colors and ages. The audience fielded questions about themselves, the industry and Lopez’s career making the night an enlightening one for many.
Deb Alley, chair of the theatre department, was in attendance for Lopez’s tribute. Alley said the tribute did exactly what it was intended to do: inspire the students to aim for success despite discrimination.
“(Lopez) is an amazing woman, that I think, no matter your ethnicity, race, religion or gender- she says you have value. There is nothing more wonderful for all of us to hear, and she says it with such passion. She’s such a strong woman,” Alley said.