Entertainment

In Efforts To Double Latino Representation In Hollywood, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Unveils New Historic Initiative

On the same day that many pointed criticism towards the Oscar nominations for lack of diversity, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a new initiative to help curb the issue, particularly for Latinos. The project is being called LA Collab, a historic endeavour that plans to link Latino talent to opportunities in the entertainment industry with the goal of doubling “Latino representation in Hollywood by 2030.”

According to the LA Times, the initiative has already “raised a quarter of a million dollars to finance a range of film, TV and podcast development deals and projects intended to provide opportunities for Latino filmmakers, writers and actors and crew members.” The initial funding for the project is coming from the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, the Annenberg Foundation, WarnerMedia and Endeavor Content, a press release from Garcetti’s office read. 

Garcetti co-founded the initiative with Beatriz Acevedo, the founder of mitú and president of the Acevedo Foundation and Ivette Rodriguez, founder of communications firm AEM. The trio says that the issue of Latino representation in Hollywood is one that needs attention. The announcement is spurred by a 2019 study by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California that showed how Latinos are vastly underrepresented in the film industry. 

Despite making up almost 20 percent of the U.S. population, the study found only 3 percent of the top-grossing films from 2007 to 2018 had Latino actors in lead or co-lead roles. LA Collab wants to help and push more Latinos to the front and behind the camera in the next decade. 

The study was a wakeup call for many civic and film leaders in Hollywood that were dismayed by the numbers that showed the growing disparity for Latinos in the entertainment industry. The report showed that only 4.5 percent of all speaking characters from the last 12 years of film were Latino, behind the camera, only 4 percent of directors of the 1,200 films were Latino.

“Latinos are a powerful force in Los Angeles’s culture and economy, and our trademark industry should tap into the diverse pool of talent in our own backyard,” Garcetti said at a news conference Monday. “On big screens or small, in front of the camera or behind it, our studios, actors, directors and producers inspire the world with the power of their creativity and imagination, and LA Collab will elevate new voices and empower the next generation of Latinx creatives.”

The lack of Latino representation in the entertainment industry is a problem that goes back many years with some putting blame on movie studios not greenlighting certain projects and films. Thomas Saenz, chair of the National Latino Media Council, told mitú back in 2018 that the problem is these studios overlooking Latino talent.

“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 said. “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.”

The LA Collab initiative hopes to be a catalyst for that change. The project already has the support of some big Hollywood names that will be part of connecting workers with various employers in the industry.

Backed by Eva Longoria, J.J. Abrams, Eli Roth, Devon Franklin, Jason Blum, and Zoe Saldana, LA Collab will be working with all of them in some capacity to connect Latinos with opportunities. Roth will help connect Latino horror filmmakers via his digital platform, Crypt TV and Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films with Pantaya will also be hiring new bilingual voices for their projects. There have also been secured deals with multiple media companies, including Endeavor Content, WarnerMedia’s 150, Shine Global and Southern California Public Radio’s LAist Studios.

For Longoria, who has long championed the need for more Latino representation in the film industry, says that she will also be opening the door for more Latinos with her production company, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment. 

“As a Latina, I want to see more actors who look like me on screen and behind the camera,” Longoria said in a statement. “I started my own production company to create content from our community, and I became a director/producer to be in a position to hire people who look like me. With LA Collab, I want to open the door for many more Latinx creators and fuel the emergence of a better entertainment industry that elevates and celebrates the diversity and richness of my culture.”

The announcement of LA Collab coincidentally fell on the day that Oscar nominations were announced. Criticism followed the nominations that had only one person of color, Cynthia Erivo, up for an award in the four major acting categories.

There was calls for multiple snubs on Monday morning as the Oscar nominations were revealed. Much of that criticism came from the lack of women of color, particularly the snub of  Jennifer Lopez for her role in “Hustlers,” for which she won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. The omission stood out for many reasons including what could have been the fifth Latina nominee in the category and the first Latina winner in the award’s history. 

This announcement of LA Collab comes at a time when the disparity in Latino roles and representation is the entertainment industry only seems to be going backwards. This year’s Oscars nominations is just one example of this continuing problem and one that Acevedo says can be fixed by working alongside studios and fellow allies. 

“The radical decline of Latinos in Hollywood was the catalyst to rally Hollywood behind this crisis to create change together,” Acevedo said in a statement. “By facilitating unprecedented collaborations between the creative community … and other influential allies, LA Collab will ultimately drive exponential growth for the industry and our community.”

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

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As A Latin Music Fan, Here Are My Picks For The 2020 Latin Grammys

Entertainment

As A Latin Music Fan, Here Are My Picks For The 2020 Latin Grammys

Edward Berthelot / Getty Images

Last year’s Latin Grammys caused an uproar on social media after the nominees list was released. Many fans and artists noticed the lack of representation of the Reggaeton music genre. “Sin reggaeton no hay Latin Grammy,” read many of the posts on social media, but this year seems to be different. 

This year’s nominees accurately represent the changing culture in Latin music as it shifts more towards the reggaeton genre. Here are my top picks for some of my favorite categories. 

Record of the Year

Record of the Year is always one of the toughest picks as many of my favorite songs are included in this category. This year it seems pretty competitive as Bad Bunny’s Vete competes with Karol G and Nicki Minaj’s Tusa. Karol G is competing against herself with the song China by Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, Karol G, Featuring Ozuna and J Balvin. But at the end, Tusa by Karol G and Nicki Minaj should take the win as the overall production of the song is what makes it so great. From the rhythm to the lyrics, Tusa deserves the Grammy. 

Album of the Year

In 2019, we had a lack of reggaeton nominees in this category, but this year the list includes two reggaeton superstars: Bad Bunny and J Balvin. Both are nominated for their joint album OASIS and their solo albums, Colores and YHLQMDLG. To me, it’s clear that the winner of this category will be Bad Bunny with YHLQMDLG. The 20-song album delivered Latin trap with a variety of moods, whether it was a post-breakup heartbreak, our on-pause summer anthems, or the heartfelt thank you at the end. This album was highly anticipated and it delivered.

Best New Artist

The top contestants in this category are Anuel AA,  Rauw Alejandro, and Cazzu. While Rauw Alejandro has had some big hits this year, such as “El Efecto,” “Tattoo,” “Elegi,” and “TBT,” it is very likely that Anuel AA will take the Grammy home. Anuel AA was snubbed from a best new artist nomination last year, but he has been very successful since then which shows his growth as a new artist. 

Song of the Year

While there are many great songs nominated in this category, “ADMV” by Maluma stands out the most. The song was released during quarantine and was written by the artist as a dedication to all the people in his life that he loves. The song, which touches upon love and growing old with one’s significant other is a very heartfelt balada and one that gives us a whole new side to Maluma. The lyrics of the song and the overall composition gives us all the feels and reminds us to hug our loved ones a little tighter and tell them that we love them. 

Best Regional Song 

The top nominees in this genre include Christian Nodal with AYAYAY! and Natalia Lafourcade con MI RELIGIÓN. While I am a huge fan of Natalia Lafourcade, Christian Nodal will most likely take the win with this upbeat and modern song. What makes the song work for Nodal is that it is still rooted in the regional genre. 

Best Short Form Music Video

If you haven’t seen J.Balvin’s video for Rojo, please do yourself a favor and watch it now! But be prepared with tissues, this video delivers pain, acceptance, and even a message to its viewers. The video starts with Balvin receiving the news that his daughter was born, as he rushes to the hospital on the phone with his mom, he crashes and dies. But he is not conscious of his death and his spirit makes it to the hospital. The rest of the video shows Balvin following the life of his daughter as she grows up. This video delivers an exceptional story in less than 5 minutes and is a grammy-winning performance. 

To see who will win be sure to tune in! The 21st annual Latin Grammys will air on Univision, Nov. 19, 2020.

READ: Maluma Is Keeping Us Up To Date On His Life In Quarantine And I Couldn’t Be More Grateful

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Latino Shows On Quibi Are Up In The Air After Platform Announces Shutdown

Entertainment

Latino Shows On Quibi Are Up In The Air After Platform Announces Shutdown

Daniel Boczarski / Getty Images for Quibi

Quibi, a short-form streaming platform, offered a variety of content from news shows to comedy to action and more. The streaming service that was launched six months ago, announced that it would be shutting down due to a lack of success in gaining traction with subscribers. It is unknown if the shows on the platform will be renewed on different platforms or canceled.  Here are some Latin shows that were offered on Quibi.

“Thanks A Million”

“Thanks A Million,” executive produced by Jennifer Lopez, first aired on Quibi on April 6, 2020. The show follows celebrities as they kickstart a chain of kindness by gifting money to an individual who must then give half of it to someone else. The first episode features J.Lo herself. Other episodes feature Gabriel Iglesias, Kristen Bell,  Anthony Davis, Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas, and more.

“Flipped”

“Flipped” is an American comedy series that debuted on Quibi, April 6, 2020. The cast includes Latino stars Arturo Castro, Eva Longoria, and Andy Garcia. The show is about a couple who get into the house-flipping business and are kidnapped by drug cartel members and forced to renovate their homes.

“Nikki Fre$h”

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Nicole Richie executively produced and starred in “Nikki Fre$h.”  It is a six-episode series on Quibi in which Richie plays her musical persona ““Nikki Fre$h,” a trap artist who makes eco-conscious choices while performing music videos. A couple of the special guests include Bill Nye, the science guy, and Lionel Richie. 

“Pulse News by Telemundo”

Not only does Quibi offer tv shows, but it also offers news. “Pulse News by Telemundo” is a newscast, hosted by Andrea Martinez, that is catered to the English-speaking Latino community. It has aired daily on the streaming platform since the launch of Quibi.

“For the Cultura by Telemundo”

Another Telemundo based news show is “For the Cultura by Telemundo.” It is a Latino-focused entertainment and music news show that is co-hosted by Alfredo Lomeli and Krystal Vega. Like “Pulse News,” the entertainment based news show airs daily. 

“Alternatino with Arturo Castro”

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The American sketch comedy series created by and starring Arturo Castro is not currently on Quibi. It had its first season on Comedy Central and was renewed for a second season and would move to Quibi. The series is described as a “a sketch show based on Arturo’s experiences as a Latino millennial in the United States.” The status of the show is currently unknown due to the shut down of the mobile device streaming platform. 

“Natural Born Narco”

The tv drama is supposed to premiere in fall 2020 as a collaboration between Quibi and Telemundo. The series chronicles the origins of the drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes and is inspired by and serves as a prequel to the acclaimed telenovela, El Señor de Los Cielos. The status of the telenovela-like series is unknown due to the shutdown news.

Quibi expects to shut down the streaming service around December 1, 2020.

READ: Arturo Castro’s ‘Alternatino’ Finds New Home With QuiBi Leaving Comedy Central

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