It’s no secret that one of the most under-represented group on the big or small screens is the Latin community. In the US Hispanics/Latinos makeup, about 18% of the population and still only take credit for about 3.1% of the speaking roles.
“Latinos are not only prominent and loyal in the consumer market but also make up one of the largest demographics at the box office every opening weekend. The fact that we are not seen on screen despite our vast contributions is devastating — although there has been progress since my childhood, thanks to creators like Silvio Horta, George Lopez, Gloria Calderon Kellett and the woman who changed my life, Jennie Urman Snyder”, stated actor Gina Rodriguez in her essay for Variety.
Another reason for the lack of Latinos on the screen is that we need more people of the Latin community working behind the scenes, off cameras, in order to create, edit, write, cast and direct our stories correctly. They’re also faced with a lot of discrimination or are type-casted into specific roles not giving them their ability to expand from one particular look and roles. According to Variety, “Marissa Herrera, a producer, and third-generation Mexican-American said at the rally that she has faced discrimination as she sought work in the entertainment industry. She said she has been told to change her last name to get work. When she’s tried out for work, she said she was told to speak with an accent”.
We as Latinos & consumers also need to ensure that when there is some type of recognition in a lead role or TV Show that we support these projects in order for more of them to be created. Most studios don’t want to invest into a project they don’t believe will be successful, we need to prove to them that these stories and our people are just as profitable and viewable as the rest by actively watching these films and TV Shows.