(WASHINGTON, DC – September 4, 2018) The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) announced today that Transgender Actress and Activist Mj Rodriguez will receive the Trailblazer Hispanic Heritage Award during the 31st Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, on September 12, 2018. The Awards will broadcast nationally on PBS stations on September 28th.
“The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is proud to recognize the talent, courage and social impact of Mj Rodriguez as a public figure,” said
Jose AntonioTijerino, President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. “Her story is a journey of triumph as she leads the way for transgender representation in Hollywood and beyond.”
The Hispanic Heritage Awards, which were created by the White House in 1987 to commemorate the establishment of Hispanic Heritage Month in America, are considered among the highest honors by Latinos for Latinos and are supported by 40 national Hispanic-serving institutions. Rodriguez will join the other Honorees who have been or will be announced over the next two weeks along with performers, hosts and presenters (visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C92ZiK5MxAs).
Rodriguez can currently be seen starring as housemother “Blanca” in Ryan Murphy’s new groundbreaking series Pose on FX. Critics alike have called the show “Unwavering, Unflinching and Raw.” The New York Times declared that “Pose Demands to be Seen.”
Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, she began practicing her craft at the age of seven and followed her dream at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Soon thereafter, she landed a breakthrough role as Angel in the off-Broadway revival of RENT—a role that would motivate her to live her truth and come out openly as transgender. At the conclusion of the show’s run, Rodriguez embarked on a journey of self-discovery, taking time away from her craft to focus on her transition.
With her courageous reemergence into the entertainment industry, Rodriguez made numerous TV, film, and stage appearances, and in 2016, became the first transgender actress and the first transgender character, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Luke Cage. She would go on to star in the critically-acclaimed film Saturday Church, a film about the lives of the transgender community that earned her a nomination for Best Actress at the Tribeca Film Festival.
In 2017, Rodriguez accepted the starring role of Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista in FX’s groundbreaking new drama Pose, a show exploring the lives of queer people of color in the New York City ballroom scene of the 1980s. The show made history for its casting of five transgender women of color in reoccurring roles, the largest ever for a scripted series.
Past Honorees of the Hispanic Heritage Awards have included Sonia Sotomayor, Rita Moreno, Plácido Domingo, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Gloria Estefan, Oscar Hijuelos, Martin Sheen, Ricky Martin, Rubén Blades, Fania All-Stars, Junot Diaz, José Feliciano, Carlos Vives, Alejandro Sanz, Juanes, Antonio Banderas, Juan Luis Guerra, Anthony Quinn, J Balvin, Zoe Saldana, Juan Marichal, Los Tigres Del Norte, Oscar de la Hoya, America Ferrera, Pedro Martinez, Luis Fonsi, Andy García, Gael Garcia Bernal, Latin Grammys, Diego Luna, and others.
About the Hispanic Heritage Foundation
The Hispanic Heritage Awards serve as a launch of HHF’s year-round, award-winning programs which inspire, prepare and connect Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s needs as well as promoting cultural pride. HHF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information on the mission of HHF visit www.hispanicheritage.org.