Advocating for Latino Representation in Hollywood

The National Hispanic Media Coalition has long called on Hollywood to increase positive portrayals of Latinos and Latino representation in all media. Yet, on enough screen in the narratives that Hollywood largely tells, Latinos have historically and perpetually remained the most underrepresented minority in the motion picture industry, in front and behind the camera.

Hispanics are 18 percent of the U.S. population, 1.5 trillion dollars in consumer power, capping tonight at 24% of all the tickets sold at the ticket booths in the theaters. According to a recent study, only 3.1 percent of speaking roles were Latino in the top-grossing 100 films in 2016, and the numbers for writers, directors, and producers were just as dismal.

It is imperative to stay updated on all the important news and updates especially when it comes to your community. To have a brisk know-how on what’s going on with the Hispanic film community, you can follow the socials of the National Hispanic Media Coalition and look at their media materials.

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Holding Studios Accountable

In its quest to increase Latino representation in the full range of moviemaking, the NHMC’s Action Network, a committee of writers, producers, directors, and actors, held a press conference a month ago announcing it would unleash a year of nationwide protests against the film executives for the exclusion of Latinos both in front and back of the camera.

The Oscar Dilemma

While the recent Oscar nominations broke barriers for African-Americans and LGBT actors and recognized the Latino animated story, American Latino actors were completely shut off of all major acting categories.

In 19 years of Oscar history, American Latinos have won only six Oscars. It has been six years since an American Latino actor has been nominated, in 17 years since one has won an Oscar. Those kinds of numbers, and not to be included, it’s a travesty.

Protests and Advocacy Efforts

The coalition took to the streets on February 5th and protested at the Oscar nominee’s luncheon. It wasn’t the Academy the coalition was targeting, but the studio executives and attendants who have the power to hire Latino talent.

If protests don’t work, the National Hispanic Media Coalition is prepared to boycott the studios and their films. Here is a statement from them:

“We make movies popular and successful; put us in them. We contribute to this country so much, so positively, so financially. We’re loyal consumers. It is only with integrity that you catered to such a group that has made you so wealthy.”

Boycotts as a Means of Pressuring Studios

In the summer of 2018, at a press conference, the coalition took their protests one step further and called for a boycott of the film studio with the worst record of Latino exclusion, Paramount Pictures.

That kind of under-representation made it possible for a long-shot vanity candidate for president in 2015 to launch an ongoing campaign of demonization of Mexican and other Latino immigrants, of ongoing racist epithets, of ongoing racist actions.

Paramount Pictures and the rest of the industry are complicit in the civil rights violations being committed by the Trump administration. The coalition and its supporters boycotted Paramount Pictures on August 25th, 2018.

They’re demanding Paramount’s executives sign a Memorandum of Understanding agreement detailing how the studio would solve their Latino exclusion problem. They are working across the country to resolve this.

Summing Up

Latinos go to movies but don’t have to go to Paramount movies. One mobilizing effort to boycott Paramount Movies can make things very difficult for the studio. Until they commit to changing their record and including Latinos to match the population in this country.

We are seeing change in the industry, and we’re thankful for it, but where are the Afro-Latino stories? There is heavy gatekeeping that is preventing diversity in film and the inclusion of ethnic actors.

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