- Selena Gomez said she was exposed to racism at a young age due to discrimination against her father, who’s of Mexican descent, in an interview with People on Wednesday.
- “I’ve had a sliver of dealing with [racism] growing up, especially with my dad,” the 28-year-old said, referring to her father, Ricardo Joel Gomez.
- Gomez, who endorsed President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, said her experience made her feel like it was her “duty” to get people to vote in the 2020 presidential election.
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Selena Gomez, who has both Italian and Mexican roots, said she was exposed to racism at a young age.
The Texas native’s mother, Mandy Teefey, is of Italian descent, and her father, Ricardo Joel Gomez, was born in the US shortly after his parents crossed the border from Mexico in the 1970s.
“I’ve had a sliver of dealing with [racism] growing up, especially with my dad,” the 28-year-old said in People’s “People of the Year” cover story on Wednesday.
Gomez, who endorsed President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris ahead of the 2020 presidential election, said that her heritage inspired her to encourage others to vote.
“When it came to telling people to vote, I felt like it was my duty,” she explained.
The former Disney star used her massive online platform to spread awareness about the 2020 election, featuring guests like Harris, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams on her Instagram.
Gomez also got candid with fans, admitting that this year marked her first time voting on an October episode of “Voting Power Hour.”
Gomez has previously spoken about connecting with her Mexican roots through music, telling Dazed that she believes she represents her community in an October 2020 interview.
“I’m always very vocal about my background, as far as me talking about immigration, and my grandparents having to come across the border illegally. I wouldn’t have been born (otherwise). I have such an appreciation for my last name,” she said.
The singer pointed out that she’s rereleased tracks like “A Year Without Rain” and “Who Says?” in Spanish, promising that’s “something that’s gonna happen a bit more.”
Gomez has also collaborated with major Latin artists in recent years, like Puerto Rican singer Ozuna and Colombian artist J Balvin.
“There’s a lot more I would love to do because I don’t take it lightly,” she said, adding, “I’m very honored.”
Even though Gomez isn’t fluent in Spanish, she’s previously expressed her desire to improve her language skills.
“I look at myself in the mirror every day and think, ‘Man, I wish I knew more Spanish,'” she said during a March 2018 cover story for Harper’s Bazaar, explaining that she felt more motivated than ever.
“Even recently I’ve experienced things with my dad that were racially charged,” Gomez said.
She continued: “Most of the time, though, I try to separate my career from my culture because I don’t want people to judge me based on my looks when they have no idea who I am. And now more than ever, I’m proud of it. But I still need to learn Spanish.”