Gina Rodriguez: The Lack of Latino Representation Onscreen Is ‘Heartbreaking and Dehumanizing’

The actress notes that her new film "Miss Bala" was shot in Mexico with a 95% Latino crew, but that's an exception to the rule.
Gina Rodriguez24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 21 Jan 2018
Gina Rodriguez
John Salangsang/REX/Shutterstock

Gina Rodriguez has written an open letter in Variety condemning Hollywood for the lack of Latino representation in front of and behind the camera in film and television. The letter arrives following this year’s Oscar nominations, which did not include a single Latino actor or actress in the four performance categories. Rodriguez tweeted the following quote from Viola Davis following the nominations on January 23: “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.”

“To be seen and heard is a simple human need. To be invisible in a world of loud voices is heartbreaking and dehumanizing,” Rodriguez writes in Variety. “The under-representation of Latinos in Hollywood both on and off screen is not just a feeling; it’s a sad reality…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.”

The New York Times recently published a report that stated only 3% of speaking characters in film were played by Latino actors in the last decade, despite the fact that Latino men and women make up at least 23% of frequent moviegoers. A Latino actor hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar since 2012.

“We still have a long journey ahead,” Rodriguez writes. “This is not just my journey, this is the journey for every young Latino boy or girl who longs to see a version of his or herself on screen. I do see a change slowly happening and I work every day to be a part of that change.”

Rodriguez notes that her new film, “Miss Bala,” filmed in Mexico with a 95% Latino crew, but she says that an exception to the rule. The actress can also be seen starring alongside Natalie Portman in Alex Garland’s “Annihilation,” in theaters February 23.

‘It truly takes a village to make a change and I’m hopeful that more studios, networks and filmmakers will continue to help make the increased presence of Latinos on screen not just a hope but a reality,” Rodriguez concludes.

Head over to Variety to read Rodriguez’s open letter in its entirety.

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