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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13 Spooky Movies To Watch That Are Guaranteed To Make Your Skin Crawl

Entertainment

13 Spooky Movies To Watch That Are Guaranteed To Make Your Skin Crawl

RgStudio / Getty Images

With Halloween fast approaching, we’re getting ready to cue up those scary movies for the best quarantine fright- fest yet. Horror movies are the one thing that seals the deal on making spooky season official. Time to butter up that popcorn, sip on that chocolatito, and snuggle up in front of the TV.

So, are you looking to kick back to some great horror films but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered with a list of our top 13 scary movies just in time for spooky season. These films range from classic horror to psychological thrillers. This list is the perfect way to get you into the spirit. Are you ready for the best scare yet?

The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Let’s start off with a Guillermo Del Torro classic. After 10-year-old Carlos becomes orphaned after the death of his father, he soon discovers the secrets of the haunted school that shelters him. Set during the Spanish Civil War and filled with ghosts, defused bombs, and a whole lot of mystery, this movie is one that will definitely keep heads turning.

Carrie (1976)

Carrie White seems to think the world is against her and I mean: she’s not wrong. Who wouldn’t get upset and lash out with their mother and peers constantly antagonizing her? Little do we know, Carrie reveals her telekinetic powers that eventually leads to some problematic outcomes as she starts to seek out intense revenge on those who’ve wronged her.

Poltergeist (1982)

A classic tale of ghosts and exorcisms all combined in one. When the California-based Freelings’s family encounters that ghosts are communing in their television set, they are seemingly terrified. The parents have no choice but to hire an exorcist to help as soon as they discover their 5-year-old daughter is now missing. But the question is: will this help or hurt them?  

Mama (2012)

When two twin sisters mysteriously vanish on the same day of their parent’s death, their uncle and his girlfriend go on a thrilling search for their bodies. The twins are found in a decaying cabin in the woods after searching. This is when it becomes clear that their escape will not be as easy as it seems. A short by Argentinian director Andrés Muschietti, it’s no wonder why the film won the ASCAP award for the best Top Box Office Films. 

BirdBox (2018)

A mysterious force has wiped out humanity and everyone knows that if you see this thing you die. Everyone is now strategizing the best way to overcome this and stay safe. One woman desperately tries everything in her power to keep her children safe and away from sight. The best and safest way to seek this shelter ultimately results in them figuring it out blindfolded. This Netflix original sent chills down my spine, and I promise as soon as you watch it, you’ll get them too. 

Us (2019)

The protagonist Adelaide revisits her childhood town with her family and has a gutted feeling that the past may now take over the present. The movie recount a terrifying incident of her childhood when she was traumatized in a carnival fun house. The family soon encounters four strangers who look exactly like each one of them. This Jordan Peele creation leaves viewers the opportunity to piece together the puzzle pieces slowly but surely, and journeys you through a horrifying storyline that will leave you glued to your television screen. 

A Quiet Place (2018)

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Actions speak louder than words,” right? Well in this thriller it’s certainly the truth. A horror film that essentially has only a few pages of real dialogue, the premise is that if “they” hear you, “they” find you. The family of four must be the quietest they’ve ever been so that a breath or even a footstep won’t reveal their presence. You’ll be jumping out of your seat so maybe don’t watch this alone in the dark.

Vampires vs The Bronx (2020)

Sometimes the best films are the ones that scare you but also make you laugh. This coming-of-age horror comedy recently made its Netflix debut earlier this month and fans are non-stop raving about it. It follows a group of teens from the Bronx who are forced to save their neighborhood from an incoming vampire invasion. The concept incorporates prevalent societal issues with a lighthearted twist and is a perfect treat for all audiences to enjoy.

Hereditary (2018)

A family in mourning finds ways to cope with the loss of a loved one while experiencing supernatural phenomena. The encounters with the supernatural begin to grow more and more disturbing. The family is left with these moments linking to a grand unveiling of family history and secrets. It’s so haunting that this movie will stay with you forever.

Veronica (2017)

“Veronica” tells the tale of a girl and her friends summoning the spirit of her dead father during a solar eclipse using a Ouija board. However, there are more undesirable spirits that have come through. She’s quickly surrounded by evil spirits and presences that are now known to pose a threat to her family. Sandra Escacena was nominated for the Goya Award for Best New Actress in 2018 for her work.

The Cabin In The Woods (2011)

Basically, a college cabin vacation gone wrong. A camping trip with five friends takes a turn when they are attacked by a family of zombies. The camping trip turns into a fight for their lives as the zombies are part of a ritualistic sacrifice. A Rotten Tomatoes reviewer even said “Would you like your head thoroughly messed with? Then check straight into ‘The Cabin in the The Woods.’” So that sums that up pretty nicely.

The Witches (2020)

Witches in the U.K. are plotting to rid the island of children by turning them into mice. Fortunately for all of the children, one young boy and his grandmother catch wind of the plan. The movie is all about the boy and his grandmother working together to make sure the witches fail in their dastardly plans.

READ: 17 Perfectly Creepy Horror Movies By Latinos To Watch Before You Die

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Here’s Who We Want to Play Legendary Cuban-American Triple-Threat Sammy Davis Jr. In His Upcoming Biopic

Entertainment

Here’s Who We Want to Play Legendary Cuban-American Triple-Threat Sammy Davis Jr. In His Upcoming Biopic

Photo: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Looks like Sammy Davis Jr. is finally getting his place in the sun. On Wednesday, Variety announced that MGM will be producing a biopic about the Cuban-American triple threat. The prolific writer and actor Lena Waithe will be co-producing. The script will be based off of Davis Jr.’s daughter’s biography: “Sammy Davis Jr.: My Father”.

According to reports, the movie will take a close look at the legendary singer’s later life and his relationship with his daughter. It will also give us a peak into Davis Jr.’s younger days, showing us flashbacks from his time as a “child prodigy” to a “global superstar”.

For those who are unfamiliar with Sammy Davis Jr., he was an immensely popular star of ’50s and ’60s. He was what some people would call the original “triple threat”–he could dance, sing, and act. And he did all three excellently.

Throughout his life, he would lie and say his Cuban-born mother, Elvera Sanchez, was of Puerto Rican descent. Later he admitted that he did this because he was afraid that the prevailing anti-Cuban sentiment in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis would have hurt his career.

But Sammy Davis Jr. was perhaps most known for being a member of the legendary “Rat Pack”–a powerful group of Hollywood hotshots that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. Their collective power and raucous Vegas stays made them living legends in their time.

But beneath the fortune and fame, Davis Jr. struggled with internal demons. He was of a victim of the brutal racism of the entertainment industry, as well as his unrelenting health and addiction problems. He eventually died in 1990 at the age of 64 due to cirrhosis.

We hope that the upcoming movie does Sammy Davis Jr.’s story justice! Here are the actors we would love to see fill the very talented shoes of the Afro-Cubano star.

Jharrel Jerome

PHOTO: FRAZER HARRISON / GETTY IMAGES

Jharrel Jerome took the world by storm when he portrayed the wrongly accused Korey Wise in “When They See Us”. His performance was so moving that he won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series. We’d love to see this gifted Dominican performer try his hand at playing Sammy. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a music career too.

Miguel

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Miguel captured our hearts long ago with his powerful but soothing vocals. We fell in love with him even more when the Mexican-American singer sang “Remember Me” at the 2018 Oscars. Plus, he’s acted before. So you know he’s no rookie.

Kid Cudi

Photo: kidcudi/Instagram

You may know Kid Cudi mostly as a hip-hop artist, but this rapper of Mexican descent also has a successful acting career. We also know that he would be able to tap into the pain and struggle of Davis Jr’s inner turmoil.

Elijah Kelley

Photo: oneelijahkelley/Instagram

Elijah Kelley is an immensely multi-talented singer-actor who you may know from hits like “Hairspray” and “The Butler”. He isn’t Afro-Latino (which we would love to see), but he’s a phenomenal singer and dancer. And he even looks a bit like Sammy Davis Jr!

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