In the wake of the Oscars disappointing everyone with their lack of representation, Latino and otherwise, Hollywood still has a long way to go toward bringing equality to the screen. Last year, the Young Executives’ Fellowship aimed to increase representation in leadership positions and that momentum is continuing in the city of Los Angeles.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced he’s teaming up with Beatriz Acevedo, founder of mitú and president of Acevedo Foundation, and Ivette Rodriguez, president of AEM, on a new initiative. LA Collab is aimed at connecting Latinx executives, talent and creators with entertainment opportunities and eventually double Latino representation in the industry by 2030. Nearly 50 prominent leaders, celebrities and organizations have joined the initiative including Eva Longoria, J.J. Abrams, Eli Roth and Zoe Saldaña. In a prepared statement announcing LA Collab, Acevedo said, “The near invisibility of Latinos in Hollywood was the catalyst to rally Hollywood behind this crisis to create change together.”
The move comes as the result of numerous studies conducted that show that while Latinos make up 25% of the motion picture box office only 3% of top-performing feature films have Latino actors in lead or colead roles. LA Collab already has secured a scripted proof of concept deal with WarnerMedia’s OneFifty, a development deal to produce a documentary with Shine Global and a podcast deal with Southern California Public Radio’s LAist Studios.
“As a Latina, I want to see more actors who look like me on-screen and behind the camera,” added Longoria. “I started my own production company to create content from our community, and I became a director-producer to be in a position to hire people who look like me. With LA Collab, 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.”
This sounds like an amazing initiative that comes after near constant discussion about the lack of Latinx representation in the industry. If LA Collab not only brings creatives together but gets projects off the ground and into movie theaters, it has the potential to truly shake up Hollywood. It could mean that the Oscars might not be so white in the future.