In an open letter to Hollywood signed by more than 270 individuals, Latinx creatives from across the entertainment industry joined forces to call for more inclusive representation. The statement has the support of Latinx creators, showrunners, and TV and movie writers, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, One Day at a Time co-showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett, and Pose co-creator Steven Canal. The letter explains that despite the fact that our demographic makes up 18.3% of the population, only 4.7% of feature writers and 8.7% of TV writers are Latinx.
It’s blatantly obvious that systemic change is needed. When The Baker and The Beauty was canceled by ABC in July, it meant that there were no longer any Latinx shows on network TV—especially not with a plot that positively represents the community. That changed slightly this month, when CBS started to air episodes from season four of One Day at a Time and temporarily brought a Latine sitcom back into the network spotlight. But, this is far from being enough and Latine people in the entertainment industry are taking a stand.
The letter is specific about the need for more Black and Indigenous Latinx representation, in particular. “We are incensed by the continued lack of Latinx representation in our industry, especially among the Black and Indigenous members of our community. Our stories are important, and our erasure onscreen contributes to the persistent prejudice that prevents real change in this country. This prejudice is not as overt as the one that keeps immigrant children in cages and separates families at the border, or as violent as the racism that is killing our Black, Brown and Indigenous community members at the hands of police. But when we are onscreen, we’re often relegated to stereotypes or villains,” the letter says.
The letter urges Hollywood to green-light more projects from Latinx creators and to stop telling stories about the Latinx experience without Latinx writers and actors. It also calls for more diverse content so that Latinx experiences aren’t painted as a monolith, promoting Latinx individuals and investing in their career growth, and hiring Latine creatives for non-Latinx projects as well.
“In fact, our stories are also American stories, stories of resilience, of liberation, of hope,” the letter reads. “Stories of business owners chasing the American dream, little girls that one day will be president or work for NASA, war veterans, nurses, musical artists and fashionistas. Because we are steeped in the dominant culture, we speak at least two, if not more, cultural languages, well versed in yours as much as we are in ours. Our voices and our perspective will undoubtedly enhance yours and that of all Americans.”