Recently, the world has fallen in love with a viral message about one “Star Wars” fan’s touching moment with her father. In the message, the fan talks about her father finally seeing someone in a major American motion picture with a thick Mexican accent — just like his. The creator of the viral post is Perla Nation, a third-year Peace and Conflict studies student at University of California, Berkeley. mitú caught up with Nation and talked to her about the viral message and the inspiration behind it.
Here is the message that went viral thanks to “Rogue One” star Diego Luna.
“I took my father to see Rogue One today. I’ve wanted to take him for a while,” Nation wrote. “I wanted my Mexican father, with his thick Mexican accent, to experience what it was like to see a hero in a blockbuster film, speak the way he does. And although I wasn’t sure if it was going to resonate with him, I took him anyway.”
Perla Nation, the author of the tear-jerking post, says she was surprised at how fast it spread on social media.
“It was important to me and I never expected to get such an immense reaction,” Nation told mitú about posting the message on Tumblr. “When something is special to you, you want to remember it. This was my way of remembering a moment in which my dad felt proud to be a Mexican in America. By writing it down.”
For Nation, taking her father to see “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was about giving him a chance to see himself represented in media, like she did when she watched the female-led “Ghostbusters” reboot.
“When I saw Diego Luna on a late night television show speaking about keeping his Mexican accent, I immediately wanted to take my dad,” Nation told mitú. “I wanted him to have that experience I had, of feeling represented. There’s a power in that.”
But, more importantly, she wanted her father to have a chance to dream about new possibilities.
“That night I saw my dad dream; he started talking about other Mexican actors he wanted to see in American blockbusters,” Nation recalled about her father’s reaction to seeing Luna with his accent. “We had never had that conversation before. At least not seriously. It was incredible.”
The one thing that Nation wants people to take from the message is a need for diversity.
“I’d love for people reading this post to acknowledge the need for diversity in film. Not just behind the camera but in front of it,” Nation told mitú. “The chair of the Center for Latin America Studies [at UC Berkeley] Harley Shaiken always says that ‘art transcends borders’ and he couldn’t be more right. I’m glad “Rogue One” knew that it surely transcends outer space.”
“I don’t think I’ve received anything negative, not one message,” Nation said about the reaction her post has received.
“The most common responses I get is, ‘I needed this,’ or ‘I’m crying,’ or ‘I’m now going to take my mom/dad,’” Nation adds.
Nation wants people to know that this is not about her. She is simply the messenger for her father.
“Someone on my Tumblr sent me a screencap of Diego’s tweet. It was brilliant,” Nation told mitú about all the attention the message it getting. “I was jumping up and down going, ‘DIEGO LUNA REBLOGGED MY POST! MY DAD IS FAMOUS!’ I immediately rang up my dad but he was in Tijuana, Mexico at the time and the call wasn’t going through properly. It’s really all about my dad for me, I wanted him to feel special and thanks to everyone’s response, most notably Diego Luna’s, he has.”
Like Nation wrote, “Representation matters.”
Nation told mitú about what she wants Hollywood executives to realize: “I would tell them that our world is changing and then I’d invite them to be a part of it.”