In The News

Business Insider: Research shows Hollywood is failing Latinos. People behind ‘One Day at a Time’ and ‘Vida’ share how those stories made it to TV and how the industry could push change forward – After the reboot of a Latinx-based television show “One Day at a Time,” the expectations for Latino representation were heightened. The complex story line gave audiences a different depiction of Latinx families, however, there has not been significant advancement since 2017. Despite the rising population of Latinos in the U.S, Latinx people bear a negligible percentage of different roles both digitally and throughout network TV.

The core of the entertainment industry is where the lack of evolution lies. The vast range of cultures within the Latinx community should be explored and analyzed by experienced, Latinx writers for accurate, realistic representations. The Showtime original “Crazy Rich Asians” portrays various members within the Asian community, but very few broadcasts achieve that for Latinos. Once a solidified idea for a TV show or movie is created, it can be a difficult process to bring it to fruition, especially for more diverse works like Starz’s “Vida.” Tanya Saracho, a contributor for the show, developed a “seven-minute proof of concept video” to improve its chances of being selected for air-time (Rodriguez 2020).

According to Marta Fernandez, main developer of “Vida,” industry management’s failures to relate to pitched content about marginalized groups is a main reason why these productions are not highly considered. Covid-19 is expected to hinder this process even further, for networks are working with tighter budgets than ever before. If statistics about feedback from movies and TV with Latinx characters remain high, there will be more room for progressive changes within the industry.

CNN Business: Diversity in Hollywood films hit a milestone last year, but Latino actors still lag far behind, new study finds – Although diversity in the media has gained more momentum over the years, Latinx representation remains unsuccessful. While there is increasing screen-time for many Latinos, the context behind the characters lack complexity. A 2019 report by the USC Annenburg Inclusion Initiative identified a shocking statistic: “Only 5% of the speaking roles in last year’s top 100 movies went to Latino actors” (Alcorn 2020).

Other minority roles outplayed those of Latinos, proving that they are the most underrepresented minority in Hollywood. This number is especially alarming given that out of all ethnic groups, Latinos visit movie theaters the most, says a 2018 study from the Motion Picture Association of America. Director of the Annenburg Inclusion Initiative, Dr. Stacy L. Smith, believes that Hollywood executives may feel as though they don’t need to increase representation since their profits are sufficient. Despite years of integrating Latinos with Hollywood professionals for skill improvement and casting opportunities, it is common to hear that they have a lack of talent, further perpetuating roles being given to other groups.

Forbes: Number Of Latinos In Hollywood Films Is Dismal. What Needs To Change? – The absence of Latinx portrayal in the media has been persistent throughout generations. Between 2007 and 2018, “Latinos barely landed 4.5% of more than 47,000 speaking roles in the top-grossing U.S movies…” (Villafañe 2020). Percentages are noteably lower when regarding directors and producers. The USC Annenburg study indicates that these numbers are plummeting each year, which has those who analyze the industry alarmed.

The stereotypes around Latinos and their cultures are consistently being perpetuated as well, as they are often casted as criminals and characters who are poor and work laborious jobs. Having more diversity among Hollywood executives effects the nature of content that is created, thus, in turn, causing casts to be more diverse. The actors and creators who get lead roles are frequently casted in those roles moving forward, leaving fewer opportunities for newer, less experienced professionals.

Change should start with the infrastructure. If media creators are Latinos and Latinas, it will induce different layers of character development. Nonprofit organizations like the National Association of Latino Independent Producers will continue to aid in the struggle for Latinx representation by working to transform the core components of media.