Mission: Empower!

Yes. We want more Latinx representation. We want it now! So what do we do? Well… what can we do besides go see movies with large Latinx casts or buy music from Latinx artists. It can be hard to think of how else we can support and advocate for own representation. So what I’ve done is found a few organizations whose missions are to empower and promote the voices and talents of Latinx in the arts.

The first organization I came across was the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures. Their mission statement states that they are “dedicated to the promotion, advancement, development, and cultivation of the Latino arts field”. I find this organization amazing because they focus on all aspects of Latinos is art. From poetry to painting and to just any form of expression you could think of. This video from their website further highlights varying Latinx artists in what they do. It really shows what this organization stands for.

NALAC Latino Arts Survey of the Nation from NALACARTS on Vimeo.

 

NALAC also has a monthly bulletin highlighting their latest developments as well as different opportunities to take advantage of such as jobs, internships, and even scholarships. This organaztion is great for anyone to look into and support. Magdelana Gomez is a Latinx Poet who is featured in this video and I happen to know her, as she is from Springfield, Ma. I’ve even had the honor to attend and even read for her at one of her Open Mics. So check out this organization out, you never know the local Latinx artists you might know or discover!

Next we have the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts. According to their mission statement this organization was founded by actors Sonia Braga, Jimmy Smits, Esai Morales, Merel Julia, alongside attorney Felix Sanchez  “to advance the presence of Latinos in the media, telecommunications and entertainment industries. The Foundation has concentrated on increasing access for Hispanic artists and professionals while fostering the emergence of new Hispanic talent”. This organization is sponsored by major companies including Google, Disney, Univision, and Scholastic. They provide scholarships and host many programs designed to award and empower Latinx creators. Below is a picture from part of their synopsis highlighting just some of their achievements.

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This organization is very active and hosts many advocacy events designed to showcase Latinx creators and their work. I highly recommend looking into them and bringing this organization to the attention of a Latinx creator in your life.

Lastly is The National Association of Latino Independent Producers. This organizations mission is very similiar to the other organizations named, to promote and advocate for Latinx Creators. Some of their mission values include:

  • Commitment to Latino/Latina content creators, regardless of the form or content of their work

  • Commitment to respect for diversity based on a code of ethics open to and respectful of differences,

  • Commitment to solidarity and accountability

This organization has different workshops and programs designed to connect Latinx Creators with producers and other people in their profession. One section of their website showcases projects some of the organizations members have been working on and creating. Some of which have been nominated for different awards. Anyone who enjoys independent movies or projects would love to check that out. They also have a donation section to help fund their programs and festivals in order to push for more Latinx created content.

There you have it. Those are a few organizations worth checking out if you want to know more or do more to help in the fight for Latinx representation in the arts and media. You will discover many talented Latinx creators through these organizations and hopefully they will inspire you. Tell your friends, donate, attend a workshop. There are many things that can be done to advocate and still a long way to go.

What would you recommend to promote the content of Latinx Creators? Let me know what you think!

 

Rebellions Are Built On Hope

Like many people one of my favorite movie franchises are the Star Wars films. They start off with honestly a very white cast, but lately with the newest additions to the Star Wars stories we have seen many Latinos enter the galaxy. As a Latina and huge fan this has meant the world to me,  especially after seeing Benicio Del Toro (a fellow Boricua*) in the newest film The Last Jedi. So here I am to talk about the excellence of Latinos in the Star Wars films.

Of course I have to start off with Puerto Rican Benicio Del Toro. Where we see Del Toro in Star Wars is in his role as DJ in The Last Jedi. He was born in San German, Puerto Rico and is probably best known for his role as Javier Rodriguez in Steven Spielberg’s Traffic that lead him to win an Oscar in 2001 for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Del Toro has also been in many other amazing and well-known films such as Sicario where he played Alejandro a conflicted character seeking revenge. Not only has he made his way into the Star Wars franchise, but he can also be found in the Marvel Movie franchise as The Collector. If you’re an avid watcher of the Marvel movies like I am, I hope this gets you excited to spot him in Avengers: Infinity War.

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Del Toro as The Collector, Guardians Of The Galaxy
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Del Toro as DJ, The Last Jedi

One of the first major Latino played roles we see in the Star Wars films is Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Not many people know or even realize Isaac is Latino. He was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and he is both Guatemalan and Cuban. Like Del Toro we also see Isaac in the Marvel world. Isaac played Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse (I realize Fox owns X-Men, but it’s all Marvel really). With his gaining popularity from the Star Wars films this award-winning Latino actor is making us proud. I can’t wait to continue seeing him in Star Wars and other future films, hopefully some that will embrace his Latino background.

Speaking of embracing Latino background we move on to Diego Luna, also know in Star Wars as Cassian Andor from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Luna, who was born in Mexico City, Mexico, is actually half White and half Mexican. When Rogue One first came out many Latinos, especially Mexicans were extremely touched to hear Luna’s accent present in the film as part of his character. It was wonderful to see how something that can seem so small as just hearing a specific accent struck such a chord with people. I remember seeing how empowered people felt and it was even comforting to me to hear his accent. Growing up around this Spanish speakers with heavy accents when speaking English and seeing it in movies makes me feel like maybe we have become more united and aren’t so separated after all. To hear this accent in such a popular movie franchise too is just amazing and hopefully influential to other future films.

Benicio Del Toro, Oscar Isaac, and Diego Luna are really just some of the Latinos who have been featured in the Star Wars films. There are a few more but I hope this post encourages you to find these people and learn more about them and what other films they’ve been in or will soon be in. In order to get more Latino representation we need to heavily show our support for the representation that is already there. Spark the hope that already exists, as Jyn Erso once said “Rebellions are built on hope”. Let the gatekeepers know we see it, we support it, and we want more. 

 

*Boricua- A Puerto Rican

Welcome

Hello! Welcome to Latinx Represente. My name is Melany Rivera-Sandoval. I am 21 years old and I am from Puerto Rico. I moved to the states when I was really young and was raised here most of my life, but that didn’t take me away from my culture. Instead it made me want be closer to my roots and I wanted to see better representation of my people in the media I grew up around.

In this publication I will address the many issues surrounding the lack of representation of Latinos in media. I will not be focusing on just Puerto Ricans in the media. I will put a focus on the representation of all Latinos in TV, Film, and Music. This publication will not be an angry Latina ranting. I will be highlighting important Latinx people doing great and impactful things to better our representation, as well as ways you could contribute to empowering Latinx voices.

I decided on making this publication after realizing there didn’t seem to be much active discussion around this topic that I could find here on wordpress. I am an aspiring actor and I would love to contribute to positive representations of my people, but the white to Latino ratio in movies is entirely unrealistic especially with the percentage of Latino citizens constantly on the rise in the US. I become inspired by people like Gina Rodriguez, who take a stand to call out the lack of Latinos in the media. She isn’t afraid to say something and neither am I. So here I am.

I hope this publication attracts a wide variety of audiences. From film enthusiasts to fellow Latinos, and from equal rights advocates to allies in the fight for better representation of all POC in media. I hope anyone and everyone who visits this publication will feel inspired and enlightened. I hope you demand to see my people in your TV shows and films. I hope you demand to hear our music. I hope to spark an interest in you to learn about other cultures from your own. Lastly I hope you share your own thoughts and experiences with me to help me better myself and this publication. Thank you and enjoy!