Entertainment

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

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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Lea Michele Half-Apologizes For Subjecting Former Co-Star To Relentless Microagressions

Entertainment

Lea Michele Half-Apologizes For Subjecting Former Co-Star To Relentless Microagressions

Emma McIntyre / Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly

The world is watching and reacting as the investigation into the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Activists have been raising their voices and organizing to maintain and grow sustained protests around the world demanding justice. Celebrities have been swept up in the anger and protest as well and, for some, it has backfired.

Former “Glee” star Lea Michele tweeted about the death of George Floyd.

Michele joined the trend of celebrities who have started to join in the protests against racial injustice inflicted by police in the U.S. Even major corporations joined the Black Lives Matter conversation after being silent for years with many participating in #BlackOutTuesday. Yet, Michele is facing accusations of her own microaggressions against former co-stars.

Samantha Ware had issues with Michele’s tweet of solidarity.

Ware played Jane Hayward in the sixth season of “Glee” and accused Michele of microaggressions. The microaggressions were relentless and traumatic enough to make Ware’s tenure on the show “a living hell.”

Ware’s response immediately rang true for so many who have faced a lifetime of microaggressions.

Microaggressions are a major issue in everyday life for people of color. They are defined as verbal, behavioral, or environmental things that have underlying hostile and prejudice roots. They are things like assuming that a Black woman is wearing a wig or locking your car doors when a Black person walks by you.

Dabier Snell also spoke up about Michele’s behavior.

Snell continued with a second tweet explaining that he is always here to make content that people will enjoy. He tries to stray away from creating anything negative in the world. However, according to Snell, seeing Michele’s tweet for George Floyd brought back bad memories of her treating him as less than while on set.

Another “Glee” co-star, Alex Newell, echoed Snell and Ware.

Three of Michele’s co-stars have come forward to call her out in public because of how she treated people. All three have been Black actors who have accused the actor of treating them with no respect and lodging microaggressions against them.

Some people are doing the work and reminding us that Naya Rivera tried to call Michele out first.

In her memoir “Sorry Not Sorry,” Rivera recounted how Michele treated her while they were on “Glee.” Rivera did not hold back when she described Michele’s reaction as Santana Lopez became a more and more important character in the “Glee” universe.

“As Santana moved from a background character to one with bigger plot lines and more screen time. I think Rachel – erm, I mean Lea – didn’t like sharing the spotlight,” reads the memoir. “If I’d complained about anyone or anything, she’d assumed I was bitching about her. Soon, she started to ignore me, and eventually it got to the point where she didn’t say a word to me for all of season 6.”

Michele offered a half-apology to address the accusations while admitting to them at the same time.

“While I don’t remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or color of their skin, that’s not really the point, what matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people. Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused,” reads part of the statement. “We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings.”

Her apology sparked more backlash from people who claim to have been part of the “Glee” cast and crew.

Credit: leamichele / Instagram

Other people have commented on her apology claiming that she is not really apologizing if she claims not to remember. Others are frustrated that Michele is apologizing for how people have perceived her words, not for the words itself.

READ: Naya Rivera’s Memoir Talks About Abortion And Anorexia

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

Entertainment

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

beatrizacevedogreiff Verified

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