To be seen and heard is a simple human need. To be invisible in a world of loud voices is heartbreaking and dehumanizing. 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 — 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.
We still have a long journey ahead. 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.
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I have so much pride for the work I have been blessed to be part of, including my latest film, Sony’s “Miss Bala.” Not only does this film have a female Latino lead and other amazing Latino talent but we also filmed in Mexico with a 95% Latino crew. I sincerely thank and applaud Sony for being one of the leader’s in trying to move the needle forward.
This film should not however be the exception to the rule, it should be a constant practice in our industry. Latinos come in many skin tones, religious background and political perspectives.
It’s important we celebrate, employ and represent all Latinos from European to Afro-Latinos, because it is our responsibility as an industry to give this entire generation positive representation so that no one feels invisible.
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.
Gina Rodriguez plays the title role on the CW series, “Jane the Virgin,” now in its fourth season. The 2015 Golden Globe winner will soon appear in Paramount’s sci-fi thriller “Annihilation,” and she recently wrapped production on Sony’s “Miss Bala,” a remake of the Mexican Oscar entry for best foreign film in 2011.