In an unsurprising announcement, the two most powerful Latinx in Hollywood in 2019 are Jennifer Lopez and Lin-Manuel Miranda, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Hollywood Power List is compiled through a months-long process where the editors research the size and reach of the person’s purview, their work and achievement in the past year, their star power, and their business clout and it’s made up of celebs as well as executives and others behind the scenes.
In addition to J.Lo and Miranda, a few of the most powerful women of color in Hollywood this year are on the list including Ava DuVernay, Issa Rae, Zendaya, Michelle Obama (along with Barack) and, of course, Oprah. But the representation of people of color on the list of 100 is meager with the top 10 being — unsurprisingly — white men and women except for Netflix’s VP of International Originals Bela Bajaria, who is from India.
We’ve been aware of the lack of Latinx representation in Hollywood which was supported recently by a study from USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in partnership with the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) and Wise Entertainment. They released a new report this year tracking the lack of representation of the Latinx community in Hollywood, in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
They found that only 3 percent of movies featured Latinx actors in lead roles from 2007 through 2018 in the 100 top-grossing films and all Latinx characters made up only 4.5 percent of the 47,268 total studied. JLo was the only Latinx actress over 45 to lead a film in the last 12 years. Both Miranda and J.Lo have worked as producers and that’s partly why they were included on the list. However, that’s still an elusive role for Latinx. The study found that of the 3,616 production credits, only 3 percent were held by Latinx with 78 of those credits being held by Latinos and 19 held by Latinas.
J.Lo landed at No.92 on the Power list thanks to the mega-success of Hustlers, which she starred in and produced and has gone on to make $121.7 million in the box office with a budget of $20 million. Her “It’s My Party” sold-out tour and the success of the song “Medicine” featuring French Montana along with the popularity of her NBC competition show World of Dance — renewed for season four — meant she’s had massive success in music, TV, and film in the same year. Though she’s undeniably one of the most powerful women and Latinas in Hollywood, this marks the first year she makes the THR list. But 2020 is already shaping up to be a major year for her as well as she’ll be performing alongside Shakira during Super Bowl Halftime.
Miranda wasn’t too far ahead at No.89 for his collective works on film and shows including executive producing the award-winning FX series Fosse/Verdon and the upcoming His Dark Materials on HBO premiering Nov.4. The 39-year-old Puerto Rican superstar is also working on songs for Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid following his Oscar-nominated success as the primary songwriter for Moana. But his workload doesn’t end there, the Hamilton creator is also producing the adaptation of his first Broadway hit, In the Heights, and he’s also working on his directorial debut Tick, Tick… Boom! premiering on Netflix.
While it’s important to celebrate their works and achievements and recognize how multi-talented both Miranda and J.Lo are, it’s also vital that Hollywood recognizes there’s clearly still a lot of work to be done when it comes to Latinx representation. Considering this list looked at star power and clout in addition to a person’s actual work, it’s a testament to how challenging it is to get Latinx works off the ground and find the right connections when the most powerful people in Hollywood seem to be almost exclusively white.