entertainment

As Hollywood Grapples With Diversity, Here Are A Few Examples Of Hollywood Whitewashing Latino Roles

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Hollywood is doing their best to try to fix the diversity issue plaguing the entertainment industry. However, Latinos are the minority being the most left behind. When Latino roles do becomes available, Hollywood often casts a white non-Latino to play the role. Latinos are the most active moviegoers representing a large number of the movie going population. Latinos represent 24 percent of frequent moviegoers to be exact. Yet, we are securing fewer leading roles than ten years ago.

The problem is even higher reaching than just roles available. Less than five percent of directors and producers are Latino. When you find a Latino producer or director (i.e. Guillermo del Toro or Jennifer Lopez), the representation follows. In the meantime, prepare to feel a renewed sense of grief as you realize that the cult classics of your childhood, or even your favorite new Netflix heartthrob, have been robbing undiscovered Latino of their own acting careers.

Charlie Hunnam as Edgar Valdez Villarreal

CREDIT: Untitled. digital Image. Vanity Fair. 20 September 2018.


Let’s not forget when Legendary Studios announced that British actor Charlie Hunnam would be playing Mexican-American drug lord Villarreal, a.k.a. “La Barbie.” Sure, La Barbie is a light skinned Latino, but he is still a Latino and Legendary can do better at understanding the meaning of ethnicity and cultural identity.

The movie has not been released yet.

Al Pacino as Tony Montana in “Scarface”

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Latina. 20 September 2018.


For those who haven’t seen the movie, “Scarface” is all about the Cuban migration into Miami and the mob and drug wars that made Miami what it is. Italian Al Pacino rose to fame after landing the role of Cuban drug kingpin Tony Montana. Who knows which Latino could have secured the most iconic mob film fame.

Noah Centineo as Jesus Foster in “The Fosters”

CREDIT: @noahcentineo / Instagram


“The Fosters” is produced by Jennifer Lopez and chock full of Latino characters, but when Puerto Rican actor J.T. Austin quit the show, they replaced him with half Italian half German Noah Centineo.

Cierra Ramirez crushed it as his twin sister, Mariana, and she’ll be co-starring in the spinoff, “Good Trouble.”

Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as Maria and Tony in “West Side Story”

CREDIT: “West Side Story Natalie Wood Richard Beymer” Digital Image. The Wrap. 20 September 2018.


“West Side Story” is a classic tale featuring the Sharks, a Puerto Rican street gang vs. the Jets, a white street gang of New York. While Rita Moreno earned an Academy Award for the boricua Anita role, they failed to cast Tony and Maria as Latino.

Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in “Argo”

CREDIT: “Warner Bros. argo” Digital Image. The Wrap. 20 September 2018.


Sorry, buddy, but growing a baby beard don’t make you a Mendez. Just when you started thinking that this is a Hollywood snafu of the past, you should know that this casting happened in 2012.

Cliff Curtis as Emilio Restrepo in “Colombiana”

CREDIT: TriStar Pictures / Via ibrahimfirat.net


Cliff Curtis is literally from New Zealand and openly non-Latino. Curtis is widely sought after for playing Latino roles, and it’s frankly the only ones he’s known for. He even played Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar in “Blow.” Everyone deserves work and that should be the same for actors of color.

Catherine Zeta Jones as Elena Montero in “Zorro”

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Latina. 20 September 2018.


While Shakira and Salma Hayek were both reportedly considered to play the part of Elena Montero, Zeta-Jones scored two leading roles in “Zorro” and it’s sequel. Plus, this isn’t the first time she’s played a Latina role.

Anthony Hopkins as El Zorro in The Mask of Zorro

CREDIT: “The Mask of Zorro” Digital Image. The Wrap. 20 September 2018.


We loved this movie as children and it pains me how we couldn’t have possibly known better how outrageous this looks to have El Zoro be a white man with a tiny gotee. For those of you who are wondering, Zorro is a Mexican character and therefore should have been played by a Mexican.

Will Ferrell as Armando in “Casa de mi Padre”

CREDIT: “casa de mi padre 1” Digital Image. IFC. 20 September 2018.


Too often, when white people are cast as Latino characters, it’s to make a mockery of the culture and of Latinos as a whole. The majority of the movie is in Spanish and yet, the screenplay was written in English by a white boy. When will Hollywood learn that whitewashing Latino culture just makes it worse, you ask?

Jack Black as Nacho in “Nacho Libre”

CREDIT: Mitchell Wilson / YouTube


This whole movie is a total spoof of Mexican culture, which could have been funny if it was played by someone other than Jack Black. Someone please remake this true story of Fray Tormenta, a Mexican Catholic priest who had a secret, very famous career as a luchador, with a Mexican actor. We can have a good time laughing at a Mexican making fun of Mexican culture just as much, if not more so, than Jack Black.

John Turturro as Jesus Quintana in “The Big Lebowski”

CREDIT: “jesus header” Digital Image. Nerd Bastards. 20 September 2018.


Italian-American John Turturro’s unforgettable role as Cuban-American Jesus Quintana could have belonged to an actual Cuban American. Once again, Hollywood whitewashes everything.

Armand Assante in “Mambo Kings” (1992)

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Latina. 20 September 2018.


This Hollywood tradition has definitely improved over time but is overall unforgivable. in 1989, Cuban-American author Oscar Hijuelos wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning piece of Latino mythology called “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love.”

When Hollywood adapted the story into a movie, they gave one of the two main roles to a non-Latino, but at least Spanish actor Antonio Banderas got the second part, who is a little bit closer to Latino in that his country colonized Latin America.

Madonna as Evita

CREDIT: “Evita” Digital Image. The Wrap. 20 September 2018.


As much as we love you, Madonna, you could never fully capture what it was like to be Argentina’s First Lady Eva Perón. She was adored by Argentines of the 1940’s until her tragic death in 1952. Key qualifier to crush the role: be Latina.

Hank Azaria as Agador Spartacus in “The Birdcage”

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Latina. 20 September 2018.


Hank Azaria earned a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his part as a gay Guatemalan housekeeper. Tbh, the role was perfection but having a Latino in the role would add to that authenticity.

Viggo Mortensen as Captain Alatriste in “Alatriste”

CREDIT: “Alatriste.” Digital Image. The Wrap. 20 September 2018.


Based on a series of novels written by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, and even directed by Agustín Díaz Yanes, the leading role went to Danish-American Mortensen. To this date, it is the second most expensive Spanish-language film ever made in Spain.

Lou Diamond Phillips as Ritchie Valens in “La Bamba”

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Latina. 20 September 2018.


If you’re Mexican, you know who Ritchie Valens is and you know he doesn’t look like this baby John Travolta. Valens created the Chicano rock movement but when Hollywood made the movie of his life, they failed to even cast a Latino to play the Mexican rocker. However, Phillips has played several Latino characters and always treats the roles with respect and that is something to be admired.

Jack Palance as Fidel Castro in “Che”

CREDIT: “Che!” Digital Image. Digital Image. The Wrap. 20 September 2018.


Jack Palance is Ukrainian-American and distinctly not Cuban. Maybe that’s why the film totally flopped? Just guessing over here.

Johnny Depp as Cuban in “Before Night Falls”

CREDIT: “Before Night Falls” Digital Image. The Wrap. 20 September 2018.


Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas’ memoir “Before Night Falls” is the heart-wrenching story of what it was like to be openly gay in Cuba under Communism, and be diagnosed with AIDS. Arenas committed suicide shortly after publishing his work.

Johnny Depp played his part.

Ethan Hawke as Nando Parrado in “Alive”

CREDIT: “Alive” Digital Image. The Wrap. 20 September 2018.


The fact that Ethan Hawke was cast to play a Latino would be funny if it didn’t tragically reinforce the white savior narrative we see too often. Nando Parrado was one of sixteen survivors of a Uruguayan airplane crash in the Andes mountains.

He was on his way to business school when he was traumatically forced to survive in the Andes for 72 days. His life was never the same, but he was certainly the hero that kept who he could alive.

Meryl Streep as Clara del Valle in “House of Spirits”

CREDIT: Anja W / Pinterest

Oh, Meryl. If you were Chilean, we’d already have you sanctified, but you’re not. Neither was Glen Close or Winona Ryder when they were cast to play the roles based off Isabel Allende’s novel “La Casa de los Espíritus.”


READ: Food And Wine Learned A Valuable Lesson About Respecting The Cultures Of Foods They Are Covering After This Concha Fiasco

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Princess Nokia Runs A Podcast, A Non-Profit And Is The Face Of A Major Fashion Brand

Entertainment

Princess Nokia Runs A Podcast, A Non-Profit And Is The Face Of A Major Fashion Brand

princessnokia / Instagram

Rapper Princess Nokia, whose real name is Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, is the Boricua Bruja who refuses to abandon Puerto Rico during this extended crisis after Hurricane Maria. She is still fighting and raising money to provide aid to the devastated island.

For the last few weeks, Frasqueri has been working with NYC based non-profits to launch “Hood to la Genter.” This is a GoFundMe aimed to combine Frasqueri’s charitable efforts with the NGO’s organizing resources to actually help Puerto Ricans.

Here’s what we know about the cause and its champion.

Princess Nokia is a proud New York raised Puerto Rican woman.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

She grew up around East Harlem and the Lower East Side of New York City and was born as on June 14, 1992.

She is best known for her unapologetic feminist music.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

With lyrics like, “I love my little titties and my fat belly” under titles like “Tomboy y Bruja,” Princess Nokia has made herself known as a shameless intersectional feminist badass.

She even has a podcast called “Smart Girls Club” to talk about the realities of urban feminism.

CREDIT: Soundcloud

She told VICE that Smart Girl Club is “a safe space for me to decompress and turn my anger and my dissatisfaction into positive outlets. And I think that’s why safe spaces are always important; it’s one thing to feel the anger, but it’s always about finding a healthy solution for it.”

She started making viral music when she was 20 but her album, “1992 Deluxe” is what has launched her career.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

She told The Guardian, “Growing up in the 90s was the coolest thing to me. Listening to metal with my gothic babysitter, dancing to Kriss Kross, hanging out and listening to the music at the block party downstairs from my house, the cartoons I’d watch, seeing black representation and Latina representation on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, going to summer camp; oh, God, it’s so vivid, so significant.”

Princess Nokia’s mother died of AIDS when she was 10 years old.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

The rapper was in the foster care system after her mother died and dealt with abusive foster parents. She was in foster care between the ages of 9 and 16 until she could live with her grandmother.

Her foster mother was so physically abusive, she had to use makeup to cover a black eye in a school photo.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

Princess Nokia calls her a “succubus.” She ran away with “three dollars in my pocket and 75 percent on my cell phone battery” to live on the streets.

The FADER released a documentary called “Destiny” that shares Princess Nokia’s unimaginable life story.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

In the documentary, she shares what it was like growing up in the foster system. She thanks that queer community around her that helped her harness her true self, even amidst the chaos of her violent home life.

Princess Nokia identifies as bisexual and is an avid advocate of LGBTQ+ rights.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

That girl is a tomboy and it looks great on her. In “Destiny,” she sums it up pretty easily when she yells at her dad in the kitchen, “Dad, I always been gay, right? [Dad:] Yup!”

The artist has always been real about what’s going on in her life.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Twitter

Her feed is a real treat. Plus, she really does fight the Trump administration and racists in the flesh. She has no issue with being loud about the injustices she encounters in her day-to-day life.

She made headlines when she threw hot soup on a racist subway passenger.

CREDIT: Evan Eddington / Twitter

It’s all on video. The person in question was shouting the “N” word on the train so passengers kicked him off at the next stop. When he tried to board the train again, Princess Nokia came at him with some hot soup. Dale.

The rapper has launched a relief initiative to help the still struggling Puerto Rico.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Twitter

In an Instagram video, Princess Nokia wrote, “When the government intentionally neglects and actively works to hurt our people for profit, it’s on us to organize and fight for our communities. We understand as working class and oppressed peoples living in America, we are struggling in so many ways under the same system that is hurting the people of Puerto Rico. But when we combine the little bit we’ve got as individuals, we can make a huge impact.”

“We know we cannot trust the government or the millionaire non-profits aligned with it to fight for our people.”

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

How do we know? Because, “Almost a year after Hurricane Maria, the nation of Puerto Rico is still in a massive crisis. Puerto Rico has a higher poverty rate than any state in the U.S. Poverty has increased from 44 percent to 52 percent after the hurricane. Suicide rates have doubled.”

She even cancelled her Mexico City show to focus on her work for Puerto Rico.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

In the GoFundMe, the musician wrote, “It is expected that Puerto Rico will lose close to a half million people by next year, resulting in ‘brain drain,’ which means leaving the island without doctors, nurses, teachers, scientists, and other trained professionals.”

No wonder she’s taking time to focus on the island.

The fund has raised more than $7,000 of it’s $12,000 goal.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

This is a grassroots initiative. If every person with a dollar to spare donated it to the organizations that have always been closely tied to Puerto Rico, lo mejor.

Princess Nokia is inspired by her daughter.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

Caption: “The God Mother & Her Apprentice. Teaching her magic and self love every single day. Teaching her the importance of kindness, self esteem, and inner beauty. And what she teaches me… words could never explain. My little witch and old soul. My daughtaaaaaaaa, my twin 🌙✨🌻”

She’s been named the face of Betsey Johnson’s 2018 Fall Catalog.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

That means she’s bringing Boricua beauty even more mainstream. Princess Nokia has modeled for Calvin Klein and isn’t afraid to rap about it. (See: Tomboy)

She is also a big advocate for decriminalizing marijuana.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

I mean, there are the obvious reasons and then there is the fact that brown people are incarcerated far more often than white people for possession of marijuana.

While Princess Nokia gains worldwide fame, she isn’t turning her back on her roots.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

Somos Americanos, pero por siempre somos Latinos. With more Puerto Ricans fleeing the island for a better life on the mainland, we’re responsible for maintaining what’s left of our mami’s homeland. There’s nobody else.

She released a powerful PSA that tells the world we’re on our feet and we’re fighting.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

Caption Part 1: “Despite the attention Hurricane Maria has brought to the current struggle of my people in Puerto Rico, many are unaware of the centuries-long suffering Boricuas have endured in the form of colonialism. We created this campaign to spread knowledge on the poverty and exploitation Boricuas have survived under the boot of the US government.”

When you’re already sick about the negligence, get sick about Americans profiting off PR disaster.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

Caption Part 2: “This video is a call to act in speaking out for the independence of the Puerto Rican people and to support organizations working to actually help the people. We can not stay silent while Puerto Ricans continue to suffer under the colonizer American government, which consistently places profit over the lives of the people and silences those who rise up to defend the people.”

Princess Nokia wants you to know that you can help.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

If you want to help, you can donate to Hood 2 la Genter or donate directly to these organizations: Sol es Vida, el Hormiguero, Luis Llorens Torres projects, Urbe Apie, the Puerto Rico Trans Youth Coalition and el Centro de Apoyo Mutuo de Utuado.


READ: J.Lo And A.Rod Share Moments From Their Trip To Puerto Rico And Announce A Donation Of 2 Million Dollars

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