Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Hollywood Latinos vow tackle lack of Latino representation in the TV and film industry

Award winning directors and producers vowed to combat the lack of Latino representation in the TV and film industry through the work they do in Hollywood.

Television producer, writer and director Gloria Calderon Kellett is one of them. During last week’s Latino Media Fest Award, which celebrates content creators who are helping make the industry a more diverse and inclusive place, Calderón Kellett said that most of the roles being offered to Latino actors “are still wildly stereotyped.”

“That leads to children in cages. That leads to fear-mongering in this country. It is all starts with the narrative. You guys, we have the power to change that narrative — it is so vital. And so important,” she said. The awards were hosted by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, which for the past 20 years has advocated on behalf of the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. that also happens to be the most underrepresented in Hollywood.

A recent NALIP study, conducted in collaboration with the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, found that only four percent of the 100 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2018 were helmed by Latinx directors — and only three percent featured Latinx lead actors. “This is unprecedented,” NALIP executive director Ben Lopez told Variety before the ceremony, referring to the event’s focus on Latinx storytellers. “We believe that if you showcase them and give them time and exposure, they’re going to be able to launch themselves as global superstars. And that’s why NALIP is here — to be that supporting organization.”

Recently, Netflix renewed the violent drama, “Narcos,” but canceled Calderon Kellett’s sweet, non-stereotypical sitcom. “One Day at a Time,” which NALIP named Best Latinx TV Show. Following a social media campaign to save the series, it was rescued by Pop TV and will return in 2020.

“We’re culture makers,” Calderón Kellett said, referring to her fellow content creators in the crowd. “It’s fun but also it impacts society in ways that you cannot possibly understand.” However, Latinx characters continue to be less visible; they account for only 4.5 percent of characters in movies, according to the Annenberg study.

NBC NEWS

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