Less than a week ago, Prime Video’s new series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power released a statement on Twitter condemning the racism that’s been directed at its cast members of color. Calling attention to the online threats and abuse some actors have been subjected to, the series’ handle stated in no uncertain terms: “Our world has never been all white, fantasy has never been all white, Middle-earth is not all white. BIPOC belong in the Middle-earth and they are here to stay.”
When we caught up with Rings of Power star Ismael Cruz Córdova on the red carpet at the Emmy awards Monday night, he echoed a similar sentiment as he connected his role of Arondir to his larger purpose of increasing representation for actors of color.
“It’s all been a lifelong journey; I set a mission in my life to be a part of the change in visibility,” Córdova said of his experience working on the series. “To insert myself in places that I was told that I couldn’t be — that we were told that we couldn’t be. And I know that a lot of people don’t have the opportunities that I’ve had, but I’m going to do it for us. I’m going to take the lead.”
Córdova, who was born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, has had previous roles in other popular series such as Ray Donovan and The Undoing. But as he tackles the larger issue of racist backlash to diversity in fantasy, the actor asks for one thing from fans in return. “I’m going to need y’all to love me and send a good vibe and let me know that it’s working. And people are,” he adds. “People are reacting to it. They are responding to it. They’re saying, ‘Thank you for being there. Thank you for representing us. Thank you for being in that show and letting us dream and soar.’ And that’s all I need.”
As for those who are resistant to the necessary increase in multicultural characters that’s happening across series like Rings of Power and House of the Dragon, Córdova says, “I just wanna be there and tell people that we’re here and we’re not going anywhere. That’s the thing. Stay mad.”
Check out our full interview with the actor in the video above.