Culture

Once Again, A Study Shows Latinos Continue To Lack Representation In Hollywood

Alfonso Cuarón, 2014 Oscar winner of Best Achievement in Directing for Gravity. (Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Representation is a loaded word when it comes to conversations about diversity in casting, especially when it comes Latinos. The latest study from UCLA’s “Hollywood Diversity Report 2018″, shows the huge disparity Latinos experience when it comes to roles behind and in front of the camera. What makes matters even more frustrating is the reports evidence shows audiences tend to prefer movies and TV shows that feature diverse casts. So what gives and what has to change? Here’s a look at the evidence on why Latinos are being left out of the conversation when it comes to representation.

This year, the Oscars showcased the best of what a prospering film industry that includes Latinos could be, or did it?

UCLA’s “Hollywood Diversity Report 2019” 

The feel-good story of this past awards season was Alfonso Cuaróns’ Oscar-winning film “Roma.” The movie centered on a housekeeper of a middle-class family in Mexico City. Despite high praise, the film received and Cuarón becoming the fifth Mexican in the last six years to win Best Director, the reality for U.S.-born Latinos in Hollywood hasn’t changed.

Latinos account for the largest percent of moviegoers among minorities at 24 percent. Yet when it comes to getting roles, that’s a whole different story. In 2017, Latinos accounted for only 5.2 percent of all roles in the top grossing films. This was hardly an improvement from the previous year which was at 2.7 percent.

When it comes to getting roles on TV shows, it’s the same trend. Latinos accounted for no more than 7 percent of all TV roles when it came to the top shows on broadcast, cable and digital networks.

For those in the industry already, making changes is harder than it looks.

Credit: @StripeyWorm/Twitter

Even when Latino-centered shows like “One Day At A Time” receive critical acclaim, that is rarely enough. This past month news broke that the show has been canceled by Netflix. Despite high praise from critics and fans, the series still has to prove itself.

“We are one of the fastest growing minority groups in country and we are still fighting for our films and scripts to be shown to the world,” independent filmmaker Kenneth Castillo said. “That’s not right.”

Castillo says what’s going on with “One Day At A Time” is an unfortunate thing that proves how even when Latinos create great content, at times it’s still not good enough. “I’ve seen this happen time and time again in Hollywood and we need to have some meaningful dialogue about where as Latinos we stand.”

If Latinos are going to see real progress when it comes to representation, they can’t wait for Hollywood to do it first.

Credit: Reuters/Twitter

There’s no denying that we are entering a new golden age in Mexican cinema with the continued success of Latino directors like Cuaron, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Guillermo Del Toro. But it’s a different story when it comes to U.S.-born Latino directors and actors.

There have been just a handful of U.S.-born directors and actors to break into mainstream success. Statistics also show studios take less chances on Latino-focused films and shows.

Representation is important when it comes to how one sees themselves and how the world perceives them as. As the largest growing minority group in the U.S., Latinos should be near the top of most film studios and getting major roles. But that’s anything but the truth. So this all begs the question, where and how do we see change?

If Latinos are going to see make any progress when it comes to more representation, they’re going to have to do it themselves. Castillo says that Latinos can’t wait for Hollywood to open the gate for more opportunities.

“We have to create our own stories and narratives in this country,” Castillo said. “Grab a camera, write that script and share your own story that Hollywood will never get to tell.”

READ: Latinos Are Still Waiting For Their Own Movie Moment As Hollywood Tries Casting More Diverse Films

Tessa Thompson’s Latest Instagram Is A Tribute To A Girl Who Could Not Wait To Get Her Picture At The ‘MIB’ Premiere

Entertainment

Tessa Thompson’s Latest Instagram Is A Tribute To A Girl Who Could Not Wait To Get Her Picture At The ‘MIB’ Premiere

When the original “Men In Black” premiered in 1997, there’s no denying it was a mega box office hit. In fact, we’re a bit more surprised that it took this long for there to be another installation to the franchise. Now, 22 years later, the new version, fittingly titled, “Men In Black: International” the film is more inclusive, which is certainly appreciated in this day and age.

It’s because of this diverse representation that Latinas can see themselves on the big screen.

Last week, during the “Men In Black” premiere Tessa Thompson spotted a little girl who was dressed just like her in the movie.

Instagram/@tessamaethompson

Thompson recounted the moment on Instagram and discussed how much she’s been through with the filming of the movie and doing press all over the world. She said it was this moment that meant so much to her.

“These past couple weeks have been almost a blur— except, my favorite moment of all— meeting the one person I really made @meninblack for. Hers was the first face I saw when I arrived to the premiere— and it’s still on my mind. And what she said to me, I’ll never forget.”

This moment really signifies why representation matters so much.

Instagram/@tessamaethompson

People seem to forget how many others are excluded when we see a movie or TV show, so when you see a person that looks like you starring in a massive project, it’s an encouraging thing that means to so many. Now we’re wondering what that little girl said to her. Please tell us, Tessa!

Thompson’s role in the new “Men In Black” also came with a couple of changes including something she didn’t want to say just because Will Smith said it in the original.

Instagram/@tessamaethompson

Thompson said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that she didn’t want the new movie to be too much like the old one, which makes sense especially because this is 2019! We don’t need to regress to 1997.

In the original movie, Smith says “I make this look good” after he first puts on his suit. Thompson said she would never say that line.

“I wouldn’t have said it. In fact, I think someone did ask me to — just as an option — and I said no. M [her character] is just different from that character [Agent J/Smith]. Yeah, I was really conscious of too much nostalgia. Also, inside of that, there were moments when I thought, ‘Let’s lean in.'”

Yes!! That is why we need more women of color in movies!

A Mexican Woman Has Been Tapped To Direct A Frida Kahlo Animated Film

Entertainment

A Mexican Woman Has Been Tapped To Direct A Frida Kahlo Animated Film

polesapartanimation / Instagram

An animated movie is in development to tell the story of iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. As an homage to the artist, the film is a female-led project with a recently announced Mexican director leading the charge. Here’s what we know so far.

U.K.-based production company, Lupus Films, is currently developing an animated film all about Frida Kahlo.

Credit: @NALIP_org / Twitter

According to Variety, Lupus Films has tapped award-winning animated director Paloma Baeza to direct the film. Baeza is known for her animated and stop-motion work with projects like “Poles Apart.”

“Frida Kahlo approached life with such vibrant energy, and was ahead of her time in many ways,” Baeza told Variety. “With my Mexican heritage, it is particularly meaningful to have this opportunity to explore her deep and complex personality, as well as her relationship with Mexico’s past and its future.”

Baeza won the BAFTA for best animated short for “Poles Apart” in 2018.

Baeza’s win at the 2018 BAFTAs is just more proof that Latinas are quickly becoming the driving force in every industry. Now, with the chance to tell Frida Kahlo’s story, Baeza is bringing the cultural and artistic nuances and representation further in the animated world.

While the animated movie doesn’t have a title, people are more excited after hearing that Baeza is leading the team.

Credit: @LupusFilms / Twitter

“As an all-female team of director and producers we are excited to be telling Frida’s story through animation, allowing us to capture the vivid palette of her work, her inspirations, and the colors and textures of Mexico,” Lupus Films managing director Camilla Deakin told Variety. “We are delighted that such a talented director as Paloma Baeza shares our passion for this project.”

People are very excited for this new Frida Kahlo project and we’re all waiting for more information.

Credit: @grantolding / Twitter

Good job, Lupus Films. Congratulations, Paloma Baeza! We are all excited to see this project developed into a full-length film.

READ: 21 Facts You Didn’t Know About Queer, Feminist Icon Frida Kahlo

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