L.A. Mayor Announces Project That Seeks to Double Latinx Representation in Hollywood Over Next Decade

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Remember the sobering Annenberg Foundation report from last year that outlined the dismal state of Latinx representation is in Hollywood? The report found that Latinos only comprised 3 percent of leading roles (and co-leading ones) in the top films. The report also determined that only 4.5 percent of all speaking characters in film have been Latino. Taken altogether, it’s clear that Latinx people have literally been erased and silenced in a media that should reflect the diversity of its community. 

In a concerted response to the report’s conclusions, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced this week that he is teaming up with some of the most powerful voices and resource in Hollywood in a project called LA Collab which endeavors to at least double these figures, an initiative that will more closely match the presence of Latinos in mainstream entertainment media, on and off-screen, with a diverse American audience. 

The announcement comes as much-needed balm to critics of this year’s major award shows, which have been homogenous in its nominations and winners lists, a symptom of deep inequities in the entertainment industry. “To see an entertainment industry and an #Oscar list that reflects the face of our city, we have to expand the opportunity to all our communities — and ensure that a child growing up in Pacoima or Jefferson Park can see her stories on the small or big screen,” tweeted Garcetti.

Garcetti co-founded LA Collab with Mitu Networks’s Beatriz Acevedo, and Ivette Rodriguez, president of the Latinx marketing firm AEM. Also on board with LA Collab are the Annenberg Foundation, WarnerMedia, Endeavor Content, as well as singular figures including Eva Longoria, who now runs her own production company and is directing the upcoming film Flamin’ Hot; Jason Blum, producer of Get Out; and J.J. Abrams, who at this point is a household name with some of the biggest blockbusters (Star Wars,  Star Trek) in his recent filmography. 

Longoria told the Los Angeles Times that her goal is to use her platform to transform Hollywood. “I want to open the door for many more Latinx creators and fuel the emergence of a better entertainment industry that elevates and celebrates the diversity and richness of my culture,” she said. 

Mayor Garcetti, for his part, pointed out to the paper that his goals with LA Collab are economic in their scope, designed not only to reshape Hollywood but also to rebuild Los Angeles communities. “The biggest problems that we face of poverty come from a lack of social capital, whether it’s in the tech industry or whether it’s in the construction trade, or here in entertainment, ” Garcetti said. “It is City Hall’s role to make sure that good middle-class jobs are going to all communities, that a child growing up in Pacoima or Jefferson Park isn’t locked out of opportunity to see her stories on the small or big screen.”