“Cabral says the tough topics tackled in American Crime—how a murder affects all the different people of a community—made him and his costars bond deeply on set. “We were in a bubble in Austin,” he says. “Every single one of us went through a dark place. But it was OK because when you looked to the left and you looked to the right we all knew that we were on an individual road but at the same time kind of going through it together. There was a real sense of camaraderie, a strong bond, but not just an acting bond. It was spiritual.”
It’s been a little jarring for Cabral after coming off an experience like that, getting an Emmy nom, and now having strangers know more about him and his gritty past. “This is yesterday—a buddy of mine has a Mexican restaurant,” Cabral says. “He was like, ‘Hey, Richard, I’m looking at you on the news and I’m proud. We’re going to name a burrito after you.’ It’s nothing like changing or helping a person find themselves, but who would’ve thought that I would make it to a point in my life where somebody would be naming a damn burrito after me.”
Cabral is hoping his newfound notoriety will help him do more. “It’s opened a whole different door because it’s not just about being an actor no more,” he says. “It’s about being a voice in the community. There’s so many ways to be a voice and that’s what I’m figuring out. Being an artist, being an actor, it’s about telling stories that could heal, that could open up discussion that could make the community better.
There are many (Latino) stories that need to be told and haven’t been told right. If I could help be that voice then that’s what I’m going to do, because this is a reality for me…”