Entertainment

Miss Bala’ Wants To Pave A Way For More Latinos To Work In Hollywood Behind And In Front Of The Camera

When it comes to Latino representation in major studio films, there is a huge disparity. Statistics show Latinos are the largest minority group in the country and account for the largest percentage of moviegoers among minorities at 24 percent. Yet when it comes to representation on the big screen, Latinos are severely lacking as they made up only 6.2 percent of speaking characters in the top 100 movies in 2017. “Miss Bala,” an action thriller set to hit theaters on Feb. 1, is trying to change the notion that a predominately Latino cast and crew can’t perform well at the box office.

With a 95 percent Latino cast and crew, “Miss Bala” is set to break some barriers along the way.

“Miss Bala” features Gina Rodriguez, the star of “Jane The Virgin”, and a cast that is compromised of 95 percent Latino from cast to crew. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the film that centers around Gloria, a makeup artist from Los Angeles who finds her own power when she is kidnapped and forced to smuggle money for a drug cartel. The film is a remake of the 2011 Mexican film directed by Gerardo Naranjo and was produced by Pablo Cruz, who oversaw the original film.

Having a cast that is predominantly Latino is a rarity in today’s Hollywood landscape. After films like “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” dominated the box office, “Miss Bala” is getting its chance to give Latinos they’re big break at the box office. What makes the film even more special is the leading role will be a Latina, in an action film nonetheless.

Gina Rodriguez hopes the film opens the door for more Latino representation in TV and film.

Rodriguez made her big splash when she won a Golden Globe in 2015 for her leading role in “Jane The Virgin.” Shortly after, the 34-year-old actress became one of the faces of Latino representation in Hollywood. It’s also a topic she isn’t afraid of speaking up about. Rodriguez has been outspoken about Latin American representation in television and film, she has also acknowledged she can’t be the only voice representing the Latino community.

“There’s no way I can represent the Latinx community alone. We come in varied shades and skin color and eye color and hair, and political background and religious background and the complexities of the Latinx community is so great,” Rodriguez said in a CBS interview. “So to be an advocate is important for me, because if I can create more opportunities and you can see more and the varied beautiful cultures does encompass the Latinx community.”

“Miss Bala” will be the first lead movie role for Rodriguez and will soon be the new face of Netflix’s Carmen Sandiego.

“Miss Bala” isn’t trying to just break Hollywood taboos but start a movement by making Latino-led films the new norm.

There is hope that the success of the film can create a movement in Hollywood where Latino-led films will get more opportunities. Cruz says he hopes this is just the first installment of Miss Bala.

“What will be amazing is if in a year or two we’re making the third installment of ‘Miss Bala,’ and we say (expletive), there are two more films like ours because now things have changed,” Cruz told USA Today.

Alex Nogales, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), says the film represents a new barrier being broken for Latinos. He’s seen many studios pass on films like “Miss Bala” and hopes this is the step in the right direction.

“The NHMC supports films like MISS BALA that are not only compelling and outstanding artistically but are also barrier-breaking, hiring a cast and crew that is 95 percent Latino. This at a time when research shows Latino leads and speaking roles in the top grossing films in recent years are nearly non-existent,” Nogales said. “This is a solid film that will likely show a nearly all-Latino cast and crew can mean good business for a major Hollywood studio.”


READ: This ‘Roma’ Actor Has Been Denied A Visa For The Third Time And Might Miss The Oscars

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The Trailer For ‘Diary Of A Future President’ Will Give Latinas A Chance To See Themselves As The President

Entertainment

The Trailer For ‘Diary Of A Future President’ Will Give Latinas A Chance To See Themselves As The President

diaryofafuturepresident / Instagram

It’s finally here. The trailer for Disney+’s upcoming series “Diary of a Future President,” and it’s so much better than we expected. The time period is right pinche now and a Latina is President of the United States. She discovers her 6th-grade diary and we travel back in time to meet her tween self navigating the awkwardness of puberty, running into your school teacher at Victoria’s Secret, and trying to play it cool in front of your crush. It’s exactly the kind of endearing, relatable female empowerment children’s series we all wanted to watch as niñas, and with actresses like Gina Rodriguez of “Jane the Virgin,” Selenis Leyva of “Orange Is the New Black,” and break-out child actress Tess Romero, we can expect the perfect, human execution of an alternate reality that may just catalyze a young Latina to grow up to become President of the United States by the show’s very existence. 

We have Gina Rodriguez to thank for this empowering message to young Latina girls around the country. Rodriguez is the director, producer, and star of “Diary of a Future President,” which is slated to begin streaming on Disney+ on Jan. 17, 2020.

The trailer begins with President Elena Cañero-Reed being handed an old book that begged the question, “Madame President, what is in there?”

CREDIT: DISNEY / YOUTUBE

“It’s my old diary. I started writing it in the 6th grade. It’s a day by day account of how I got here. I really had a lot to say,” Rodriguez’s character tells her potential Vice President (her role has not been revealed yet). The series arc is set up to take viewers back in time to when the future POTUS was just a regular old tween starting out middle school, arguably a far more stressful time than any amount of time in the White House. We love that Disney+ seeks to humanize a Latina in power by showing young kids what’s possible. That a Latina President was once a pre-teen, crushing on boys or girls, having strong friendships, and also doing well in school. We are here for this message of hope and empowerment, which may just be the very seed that America’s future Latina president needs to have planted during these formative years. 

It’s basically “si se puede” but Disney+.

Meet Tess Romero, the actress who plays young Elena. 

CREDIT: DISNEY / YOUTUBE

Tess Romero is just 12-years-old and has already landed her first starring role in “Diary of a Future President.” In real life, Romero has attended her fair share of protests. When she was just 9-years-old, she made her own “Fight Like a Girl” protest sign and marched in the record-breaking Women’s March in 2016. 

Elena, Romero’s 12-year-old fictional counterpart, is a Cuban-American girl living with her brother, Bobby, played by Charlie Bushnell, and mother Gabby, played by Selenis Leyva.

Elena’s mother, Gabby, is both a lawyer and Elena’s role model.

CREDIT: DISNEY / YOUTUBE

We’ll get to watch Elena start middle school with her childhood best friend, Sasha, and eventually watch her catch her mom kissing another man in her living room. “I was just trying to stay afloat in these tumultuous middle school waters,” Elena tells the viewers in a voiceover. “Things are changing. Changes might surprise you. Change becomes the new normal,” she tells us as she takes offense at her mom’s new boyfriend making eggs for the family. Elena is afraid that he’ll take over the “contributions” she makes to the family. “Nobody could ever replace you,” her mother imploringly tells her.

The future President of the United States is just like the rest of us.

She enters the pleasures of Latinidad and starts to grow a lady mustache.

CREDIT: DISNEY / YOUTUBE

“You’ve got toothpaste on your mustache,” Elena’s brother tells her to her absolute horror. Remember that very first mustache hair you plucked, ladies? The pain, so fresh and new and unfathomable to believe you have to deal with it for the rest of your life. Unless you choose not to.

Elena runs into her middle school teacher at Victoria’s Secret, because haven’t we all.

CREDIT: DISNEY / YOUTUBE

The horrors of seeing your teacher outside of school is already a shock to the system, let alone while wearing a DD bra outside your clothes. Welcome to life, Elena. We can’t wait to meet you.

You can watch the full trailer below!

READ: Gina Rodriguez Is Producing ‘Diary Of A Future President,’ A TV Show That Will Show Us A Cuban-American Girl As President And It’s Everything We Need RN

Gina Rodriguez To Speak At Black History Month Event? Apparent Fake Press Release Sets Off Social Media Firestorm

Entertainment

Gina Rodriguez To Speak At Black History Month Event? Apparent Fake Press Release Sets Off Social Media Firestorm

hereisgina / Instagram / @NotLaja / Twitter

There seems to be yet another controversy that has found Gina Rodriguez being slammed on Twitter. However, the actress is the victim of a viral hoax created to anger people and cause injury to Rodriguez’s reputation. On Sunday evening, a fake press release was seen circulating on social media that apparently had the 35-year-old actress speaking on behalf of Black History Month. The false press release allegedly came from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Black History Month Committee and was originally tweeted out by journalist Yashar Ali, who was invited to cover the event.  

The odd press release set off a firestorm of criticism and confusion about how Rodriguez, who has previously found herself in hot water due to questionable comments on race, could be featured at an event focused on Black History Month. Again, the press release is false and the anger towards Rodriguez is misdirected.

Twitter was in disbelief about a false press release that stated Rodriguez, who hasn’t had the best history when it comes to comments about to Black community, would “take selfies with African American students.” 

The entire press release was odd altogether as it read that Rodriguez would “take selfies with African American students.” “Starting in 2020, the LAUSD will invite celebrities into classrooms to speak to students during this historic month. We thought that Ms. Rodriguez, who has both African and Latina ancestry, would be a great inaugural speaker,” the press release reads.

Twitter users reacted to the press release as if it was real and the attacks on Rodriguez began without users doing their own due diligence and researching the matter.

While there was no date attached to the press release or any mention of a Black History Month event on the LAUSD website or its calendar, the school district did acknowledge the month last year. The screenshot of the press release spread quickly on Twitter and by Monday morning there was still no statement or confirmation from LAUSD of its legitimacy. 

This isn’t the first time Rodriguez has been connected with controversy. In the last few years, she has made questionable comments about the Black community that has raised some eyebrows. This may be why so many people assumed the press release could have been real. 

The validity of the press release didn’t stop people from chiming in on what seemed to be another one of Rodriguez’s tone-deaf comments. She has previously made statements that her dad is “Afro-Latino,” which also raised some eyebrows. Social media users in return posted images that showed otherwise. 

Just last year, she faced some blowback after she posted an Instagram story in which she used the n-word while rapping along with the Fugees’ song “Ready or Not”. While the “Jane the Virgin” star apologized in a follow-up post, many dismissed as insincere. Many social media users used the incident as concrete evidence that Rodriguez has a less-than-respectful attitude toward black people. 

That incident followed another controversial moment from a 2018 panel discussion on pay equity where Rodriguez was criticized for comments that many perceived as anti-Black. She spoke about the pay gaps among women of different races, saying that Latina women made less than white and Black women, on average.

“I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it, right? Where white women get paid more than Black women, Black women get paid more than Asian women, Asian women get paid more than Latina women, and it’s like a very scary space to step into,” she said. “Because I always feel like I fail when I speak about it because I can’t help but feel already so gracious to do what I do and I feel like, culturally, I feel like I was raised to just feel so appreciative of getting here.”

The Twitter account for the LAUSD Black History Month Committee has since deleted its tweet and its entire account. Yashar Ali, who originally shared the press release, also deleted her tweet. There has been no explanation of why from either side so far.

The apparent fake press release had social media users putting in their two cents on the issue despite knowing its validity. Public figure Jemele Hill chimed in on the press release as well simply saying “Make it make sense, y’all,” 

“Instead of giving Black women this space, you give it to Gina Rodriguez? The same Gina Rodriguez who has made it a point to discredit every experience a Black woman has spoken about? LAUSD, Fix this decision, Expeditiously.” another Twitter user wrote. 

While mitú has reached out to LAUSD, there has been no response yet verifying if there was ever going to be a Black History Month event featuring Rodriguez. It’s safe to say, from the reaction on social media, it might not be a good idea anyway. 

READ: Conservatives Are Calling For The FBI And CIA To Investigate George Lopez After He Made A Joke About President Trump