Entertainment

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

Films “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” both shattered myths about minority casts by breaking box office records. These successes have led to many people celebrating Hollywood’s perceived move to a more inclusive and diverse casting practice. The films broke stereotypes in Hollywood that diversity doesn’t sell and both already have sequels in the work. Yet, through all this barrier-breaking, one underrepresented group has been left out in the dark again: Latinos. Statistics show Latinos are the largest minority group in the country and account for the largest percent of moviegoers amongst minorities at 24 percent. When it comes to the big screen, Hispanic or Latino characters made up only 6.2 percent of speaking characters in the top 100 movies in 2017. But for Latinos that work in the film industry, this is just business as usual.

Hollywood is catching on to the idea that diversity will turn into dollars at the box office but will Latinos be included?

CREDIT: CREDIT: Motion Picture Association of America

Thomas Saenz, chair of the National Latino Media Council, has been fighting for Latino representation for more than 30 years, yet during that span he hasn’t seen enough change. His organization is part of a joint boycott with the National Hispanic Media Coalition that has chosen to spotlight Paramount as statistics show that the studio has the worst record when it comes to including Latinos in films. Saenz and Alex Nogales, president of the NHMC, led a protest of over 60 people in front of Paramount Studios on Aug. 25 in what is the start of a series of protests against the company.

“When studios focus on diversity that can mean any minority group. Latinos in particular have been represented in minuscule numbers that don’t properly show what this country is made up of,” Saenz says. “In the last 10-15 years, African-American representation has gone up same for Asian-American. But I can’t say the same for Latinos. That has to change.”

Paramount has yet to respond to the protest but when the boycott was announced back in August they felt the rights groups were being overly aggressive in their demands. Saenz responded to that by saying “it requires aggressive action on an issue that infringes on civil rights.”

Hollywood has a proven record of creating very few live-action movies focusing on Latino life and culture.

Marissa Herrera, CEO/Creator of De Mi Alma Productions and NHMC Action Network Member, has worked in the entertainment industry for two decades. She has seen firsthand how hard it is for Latinos to get major film roles.

“I’ve had a TV-pilot ready for six months but no company is willing to take a chance on it yet,” Herrera said. “We need dialogue and allies that can bring us a seat at the table.”

Herrera was part of the studio protest where she voiced her displeasure for the lack of Latino representation. She spoke about the struggle of being both a woman and a Latina in the film industry, which puts her at a worse disadvantage. In 2016, only 13 movie roles out of the top 100 grossing films went to Latinas and only 6 percent of TV roles on scripted television went to Latinos as a whole.

“They took a chance on those productions (“Black Panther,” “Crazy Rich Asians”) and we have yet to see that on our end,” Herrera said. “Those two films were given the opportunity and budget. We are the largest growing population yet still not fairly represented in film, all I ask is why are we not?”

The late ’80s and ’90s saw a slew of big production films with that centered or starred Latinos. What has changed since then?

CREDIT: CREDIT: Twitter/JLoeditsnews

“Stand and Deliver” (1988) and “Selena” (1997) were created during this brief time. Some call it the golden age of Latino-American film because studios began taking chances on films that depicted Latino history. By the end of the ’90s there was reluctance from studios to create political stories that dealt with issues such as immigration and discrimination. Herrera feels that it’s not necessarily movie studios going backwards today but them lumping “diversity” all into one category.

“A lot of the films in the ’90s were great but it was half in half. A lot of those roles were stereotyped. For example, since its an immigration story, it makes it a Latino story,” Herrera said. “I do think we are trying to find a sweet spot where we are portrayed not by what society wants us to be but who we are as a whole.”

What will it take for Hollywood to finally make some changes and show Latinos at the forefront of films?

CREDIT: Credit: Getty/Mark Ralston

For Saenz, he sees a few ways for Hollywood to start making some changes to the way they cast and choose which films they want to invest in. He says Latinos need their big moment now more than ever due to the hostile political climate that President Trump has fueled.

“I didn’t think that Donald Trump would get away his demonization of the Latino community but it’s hard to separate what happens in movies and what results in elections and policies going forward,” Saenz says.

Yet, Saenz sees changes coming and believes boycotts like this bring social awareness to a problem many people, including Latinos, don’t realize. The statistics for Latinos in popular films are a disheartening truth but that hasn’t wavered people like Saenz and Herrera who see a light coming soon.

“Money talks. Its important to not support these companies that are refusing to give opportunities, Herrera said. “We all just want to have a seat at the table and begin making real progress. This is our moment as Latinos to seize because if we don’t do it then who will.”

The NHMC and NLMC delivered a petition at during their last demonstration against Paramount Pictures on September 12.


READ: People Are Calling For A Boycott Of Paramount Studios Because Of Their Severe Lack Of Latino Representation

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Latinas Shared The Movies And Shows That Made Them Feel Seen

Entertainment

Latinas Shared The Movies And Shows That Made Them Feel Seen

Nickelodeon

It’s no secret that over the past few decades, people of color worked to fight for equal representation on screens both big and small. While, of course, there have been great POC and LGTBQ relationships on television there’s really been a spike in the spectrum of representation since our early years watching television and learning about relationships.

Recently, we asked Latinas on Instagram what shows and movies featured their favorite most diverse couples.

And the answers threw us for a time loop!

Check them out below!


“Maria and Luis on Sesame Street.”- melissa_phillips71


“Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner is The Bodyguard, they reminded me of my parents and they loved to play the soundtrack.” –millenialmarta


“The leads in Someone Great, Jane and Michael the virgin and the lesbian relationship Gentrified. It’s been 30 years and I finally found characters I can relate to.” –allyss_abyss_

“Most definitely, “Brooklyn 99”: two female Hispanics as regulars and a white person playing a Hispanic (Andy Samberg’s character’s last name is Peralta, which is a Spanish surname).” – seadra2011

“Holt and Kevin(and Rosa Diaz) have changed the way people have perceived gay couples and gay people. Nine Nine!” –chaoticbiguy


“The first on-screen presence that made me feel seen/represented period was @justinamachado ‘s character on One Day At A Time. A Latina veteran struggling with her mental health while trying to juggle school, work, love, and family? And as a main character? Whew….“-vieja.metiche

“Taína! It was on Disney if I remember correctly?? Then @americaferrera in sisterhood of the traveling pants as Carmen. 😭❤️ her life was like mine. Growing up in suburbs but never really having a place culturally.. but my girlfriends still had my back no matter our background.” –chessy__a

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‘The Tax Collector’ Director Denies That Shia LeBeouf Is In Brownface

Entertainment

‘The Tax Collector’ Director Denies That Shia LeBeouf Is In Brownface

Phillip Faraone / Getty Images

Shia LeBeouf is in the new movie “The Tax Collector” and people are accusing him of brownface for this role. The actor takes on the accent for the role and got a chest tattoo to do the role authentically. For some, it is cultural appropriation and it has started a debate.

Shia LeBeouf is the man in “The Tax Collector” and people have questions.

The pulse-pounding trailer has all of the action you can handle so you can only imagine what the full movie is like. The movie is all about the tax collector having to fight to protect his family when a rival takes over his turf. LeBeouf is ready to do whatever it takes to save his family.

Some people are very upset about the role for LeBeouf.

The tattoos and the accent are too much for people. Some have argued that the role was not at all a way of cultural appropriation. Instead, LeBeouf is playing a white role that happens to have grown up in a neighborhood where he picked up the accent and a certain way of dress.

The argument is going both ways with people fighting to defend him.

While the role could be really problematic for some, others see themselves reflected in it. There are many people defending LeBeouf because they too grow up in a neighborhood and took on the culture of the neighborhood.

The director of the film, David Ayer, spoke out saying that LeBeouf is not in brownface.

“He’s a white guy playing a white guy. He’s not taking anyone’s work away,” Ayer told the LA Times to calm the critics.

What do you think?

READ: Bon Appétit Editor Adam Rapoport Resigns Over Brownface Scandal

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