Finding representation in Hollywood for me has been challenging. A Mexican/Salvadorian guy that grew up in the United States may not captivate audiences in television on film. Another issue is that unfortunately when you think of Salvadoreans, thanks to the media, we usually think first of their gangsters and thugs known as the MS13. When it comes to Mexicans, pop culture has romanticized the idea of drug lords and traffickers. This in the same way we boast and have romanticized pirates who are now seen as “good guys”.
The reason I talk about these things is that I wanted to give some perspective on what the world is shown about our cultures. So when there is someone who I feel has accurately represented us, I have valid reasons to boast about it for some time. This is the case with AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead’s Daniel Salazar. He is played by a very talented actor, musician, singer, composer, activist Rubén Blades.
Fear The Walking Dead’s Daniel Salazar
Daniel Salazar has now survived six seasons of this series, and is still alive and kicking! Although Blades is Panamanian, in the series he plays a Salvadoran man. Before coming to the states, he was a secret agent of the Salvadoran Junta and CIA. His love and passion for his family forced him out of El Salvador during the horrific civil war in that country. He settled down in Los Angeles as a barber.
Unfortunately, after the outbreak, he loses his wife and then later down the line, his daughter. This leaves Daniel without a purpose but with little time to process his emotions. Things throughout the six seasons including the events at the Gonzalez Dam and the base he established at a warehouse.
Near-death experience after another, his will to survive shines on. His tenacity in moving forward and ability to problem solve are traits that I have seen in people like my mother who also escaped El Salvador during the civil war. Also, the way he expresses his love to his family and friends is also something that I am very familiar with. I was very pleased to see Blades be able to capture a Salvadoran man in his position so well!
Lucky for me, it just so happens that I was able to speak with Rubén Blades about his role on Fear the Walking Dead. Last week AMC dropped the tenth episode of the sixth season titled, Handle With Care. Where we finally start seeing the repercussions of always being on alert and unable to trust even their closest allies. Out of everyone, it has taken the most out of Daniel. During our conversation, we talk about how well he portrayed a Salvadoran man in his position. As well as the mental state of Daniel as we proceed with season six of Fear the Walking Dead. You can listen to the full interview down below!
Here is a synopsis for season 6 of Fear The Walking Dead:
After being torn apart by Virginia and her Pioneers, the group is now dispersed across her far-reaching settlements. Life behind Virginia’s walls will test each and every one of them in different ways, forcing them to define who they are in this new world.
AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9/8c. Or stream early on AMC+.