On the same day the Oscars announced their #SoWhite nominations, Latinx creatives gathered in Los Angeles to say enough with the all-white Hollywood projects. The most well-known Latinx actors, along with entrepreneurs and L.A. officials, presented a new initiative that aims to get Latinx working in Hollywood.
The initiative is called L.A. Collab, and it seeks to “develop transformational collaboration between the creative community, studios, buyers and other organizations towards the goal of doubling Latino representation in Hollywood by 2030.”
So what does this actually mean? They want entertainment companies to hire Latinx to work in Hollywood, mainly because this area alone is primarily made up of a Latinx population.
“The radical decline of Latinos in Hollywood was the catalyst to rally Hollywood behind this crisis to create change together,” entrepreneur Beatriz Acevedo said on Monday, according to NBC News. “By facilitating unprecedented collaborations between the creative community … and other influential allies, L.A. Collab will ultimately drive exponential growth for the industry and our community.”
The L.A. Collab initiative was prompted after the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California released the study “Latinos in Film: Erasure On Screen and Behind the Camera Across 1,200 Popular Movies” last year that proved a decline of Latinx representation in Hollywood. The study also showed that the Latinx that was seen in movies often represented them in a stereotypical role.
What is most mind-boggling from this entire discussion is the fact that Latinx was included in the arts back in the ’80s and ’90s, and then something shifted. Can someone explain why that shift occurred? Why did the Hollywood industry go from inclusion to exclusion? With so much talk coming out of the film industry about “inclusion riders” and diversity, it is frankly tiring that zero change seems to be occurring.
Jennifer Lopez’s Oscars snub for her lead role in Hustlers speaks to that. The Latinx community is putting all of their hopes and dreams of representation on one single Latina. That is pretty pathetic.
During yesterday’s press conference, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that L.A. Collab has already secured opportunities from a variety of production companies who have agreed to hire Latinx.
“The Latinx community is a growing force across L.A.’s economy, and our trademark industry should tap into that diverse pool of talent in our own backyard,” Garcetti said, according to Variety. “On big screens or small, in front of the camera or behind it, our studios, actors, directors, and producers inspire the world with the power of their creativity and imagination — and L.A. Collab will help bring new voices and dynamic storytellers into the fold by including and empowering the next generation of Latinx leaders.”
Mr. Garcetti, you should know Latinx is not a “growing force” in Los Angeles; they are the force of that city. The Latinx community has always been there.