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Gina Rodriguez Launches Social-Media Movement to Spotlight Latino Performers

Gina Rodriguez Launches Social-Media Movement to Spotlight Latino Performers

The #OscarsSoWhite movement that has dominated headlines for over a week has been a necessary reckoning with the institutional exclusion that plagues Hollywood. 

But that all-important protest has also largely taken a less-than-ideal black-and-white cast. African-American performers and filmmakers have been the most visible victims of the film industry’s lack of diversity, in part because many of them have bravely led the campaign in all its myriad forms and in part because two of the most central figures in this year’s Oscars, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and show host Chris Rock, are black. 

But the fact remains that America is not a black and white country. (In fact, Latinos slightly outnumber African Americans, population-wise, according to the 2014 census figures.) And yet the LA Times’ reportage last week that “no Asian actress has won an Oscar in 58 years, and it’s been 54 years since a Latina took home an Academy Award” are statistics that have yet to enter the mainstream #OscarsSoWhite discussion. 

So it’s a welcome development that “Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez is launching a new social-media initiative to spotlight Latinos and Latinas in media. Titled “Movement Mondays,” the series is intended to boost the profiles of “all the various Latino cultures in the media.”

Rodriguez explained her reason for launching Movement Mondays: 

“With all this Oscar Talk and lack of diversity I decided to start a movement and speak from the perspective of a Latina American who desires to see more Latinos on screen. There are 55 million Latinos in this country and although we all come from various backgrounds our unity can make a movie explode at the box office or a tv show sore to the highest viewers possible. The better these projects do financially, the more money they will spend on putting Latinos In blockbuster films, as leads in tv shows Etc. My solution is this, support is needed.”

She also got real about how people can best advocate for diversity — with their dollars: 

“Right now there isn’t one Latino that can Greenlight a movie. … The industry sees money, the excuse can’t be racism. We can make a difference in a very powerful way if we unite our support as one Latino community. … Let’s start making noise with where it matters most, where we put our dollars. Go support these films, watch these shows (mine is on tonight by the way, shameless promotion feel free to watch on the CW) and we can take making a change into our own hands.”

To start, Rodriguez lauded Oscar Issac and his performance in “Ex Machina” (although one can certainly make the argument that Isaac has succeeded as a performer in Hollywood because he’s never been pigeonholed as an “ethnic” actor, i.e., his roles would generally be described as “male” or “white male,” instead of “Latino male”): 

“Oscar Isaac, in my opinion had an Oscar worthy performance in this film,” she wrote. “Each Monday I will highlight a Latino actor we can support. Let us use our numbers and powerful voices to prove we support one another, to prove we can make a box office hit, to prove they need to support all the various Latino cultures in the media. That can be one part of the solution, so next year we have many movies that are worthy of Oscar contention! #MovementMondays Pick any Latino currently working we can support!”

A 2014 USC study found that Latinos are both severely underrepresented and hypersexualized in their roles on screen. And while they make up 16.3% of the U.S. population and 25% of moviegoers, less than 5% of speaking characters in the top 100 films of 2007-13 were Latino. 

And if you’re looking for more diversity within the diversity conversation, the sites Colorlines, Remezcla, Angry Asian Man and Native Appropriations are good places to start. We can all get a little more educated about intersectionality, after all. 

Here is Rodriguez’s full post: 

Movement Monday’s. This is Oscar Isaac. He is a Guatemalan American actor. This is a picture from Ex Machina directed by Alex Garland and was released this past year. With all this Oscar Talk and lack of diversity I decided to start a movement and speak from the perspective of a Latina American who desires to see more Latinos on screen. There are 55 million Latinos in this country and although we all come from various backgrounds our unity can make a movie explode at the box office or a tv show sore to the highest viewers possible. The better these projects do financially, the more money they will spend on putting Latinos In blockbuster films, as leads in tv shows Etc. My solution is this, support is needed. Right now there isn’t one Latino that can Greenlight a movie. That means no studio will put their money behind a Latino face as a lead of a movie because they don’t believe we can make their money back. I am told time and time again “Latinos dont watch Latino Movies. Latinos don’t support each other” and sadly that is true. I’m not saying go and see a movie you don’t like to blind support, im saying if you want to see us represented on film and tv, if you want to see Latinos nominated for Oscars, we NEED to support one another. The industry sees money, the excuse can’t be racism. We can make a difference in a very powerful way if we unite our support as one Latino community. Oscar Isaac, in my opinion had an Oscar worthy performance in this film. Let’s start making noise with where it matters most, where we put our dollars. Go support these films, watch these shows (mine is on tonight by the way, shameless promotion feel free to watch on the CW) and we can take making a change into our own hands. Each Monday I will highlight a latino actor we can support. Let us use our numbers and powerful voices to prove we support one another, to prove we can make a box office hit, to prove they need to support all the various Latino cultures in the media. That can be one part of the solution, so next year we have many movies that are worthy of Oscar contention! #MovementMondays Pick any Latino currently working we can support!

[via WhoSay, USA Today]

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