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HOLLYWOOD’S PERCEPTION OF AMERICAN LATINOS

March 8, 2010

Perception is everything. Latino writers, directors, filmmakers and actors who try to break into Hollywood (pun intended) worry about this mantra. Afraid to portray themselves as stereotypical, afraid to behave outside of the realm of sensibilities established by this exclusive club.

Hold up…who invented the Latino stereotype anyway? Wasn’t it Hollywood and the media? We try NOT to portray ourselves in a light in which they created?

Yet when it comes to purchasing power, (see last week’s article) Latinos are lumped into a predetermined stereotypical box—we won’t pay to see our fellow Latinos in film.

Is a pattern emerging?  

So how can Latinos please Hollywood? How do we fit in with the Hollywood clique?  

Our message to Latino filmmakers, writers, directors, actors…

Be true to yourself.  Trying to be someone other than who you are has gotten us nowhere. Don’t be afraid to be an American Latino…even in an unwelcome environment. It’s who we are.

American Latinos don’t ask for handouts, for special consideration—we simply ask for opportunity on a level playing field—an opportunity to entertain our billion dollar audience. 

Let’s turn the tables of perception a la Hollywood…

Hollywood loves to champion causes. They flaunt their benevolence—they care about the poor, the sick, the hungry, the homeless, the air we breathe…

One of these Hollywood pet causes was about an exclusive group who shut out another group, eliminating opportunity, hope for the future in their lucrative industries…because of race. Hollywood was appalled, marched in the streets, hosted concerts, voiced their outrage.

Apartheid.

Much easier to point accusations at another continent than to look in your own backyard…where Manuel tends to your lush garden.

Look in the mirror, Hollywood…

A low down, dirty shame…

The difference is…Hollywood is made up of corporations, run by people who must answer to their parent companies, their shareholders, their customers.  They must answer to us.

One billion dollars of purchasing power and American Latinos have no say in the lack of Latino characters in feature films? Sorry, Hollywood, wrong continent.

Clearly, Hollywood is misbehaving. But who is Hollywood? To make our case, we must breakdown the Hollywood machine into chewable bites—learn who we’re dealing with.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll dissect Hollywood’s maze of corporate structure; uncover those individuals who have the power to make positive change in Hollywood–those who decide which films American Latinos pay to see and who reap the rewards from said audience. And we’ll also check out to whom these high-level individuals answer to.

Everyone’s got a boss—even Hollywood executives.

Thank you for sharing your valuable time with us.

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