FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 9, 2014
CONTACT Brian Pacheco, NHMC firstname.lastname@example.org 213-718-0732 (m) 626-792-6462 (o)
NHMC President and CEO Alex Nogales Applauds Chris Rock, Calls for Latino Employment Business Imperative in Hollywood
PASADENA, Calif. — In a blog post published today, National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) President and CEO Alex Nogales applauded actor, comedian and director Chris Rock for denouncing the entertainment industry’s glaring under-employment of Latinos in an essay that ran on December 3 in The Hollywood Reporter.
In the piece, Nogales also called on the entertainment industry, which is located in the metropolitan area home to the nation’s largest Latino population, to “make Latino inclusion in employment an immediate business imperative.”
“If the entertainment industry were located in Montana, it could be argued there weren’t enough of us to hire, but the business is located in Hollywood — in the Greater Los Angeles area, where there are 5.8 million Latinos residing, 49 % of the Southland’s population,” wrote Nogales.
Nogales’ full blog post can be read below or at: http://www.nhmc.org/blog/chris-rock-absolutely-money/.
Chris Rock Was Absolutely on the Money
By Alex Nogales, president and CEO of NHMCChris Rock was absolutely on the money: Hollywood is still keeping Latinos out. Hollywood’s images reach millions throughout the country and the world. Yet American Latinos, 17% of the nation’s population, of which nearly 65% are of Mexican descent, are generally excluded in film and television both in front and back of camera. If the entertainment industry were located in Montana, it could be argued there weren’t enough of us to hire, but the business is located in Hollywood– in the Greater Los Angeles area, where there are 5.8 million Latinos residing, 49 % of the Southland’s population. We are living in the industry’s backyard, and yet we are not included in the business. This is not only shocking and shameful as Chris expressed, but it is also, as many have insisted for years, unacceptable. Growing up as the son of Mexican immigrant farmworkers, picking whatever crop was in season up and down California, my family and I, along with countless other Mexicans and other Latinos, experienced and witnessed outright prejudice and discrimination, including signs that said “No dogs or Mexicans allowed.” Thankfully our kids don’t see those signs anymore and the bigotry isn’t as blatant. But the bigotry is alive and well and Latinos still face discrimination and exclusion in all areas of economic activity, including and particularly in mainstream media, which for many, incredulously, is the epitome of progressive politics, attitudes and practices. How we are perceived is always going to be how we are treated and Latinos across the nation are not being treated very well. This didn’t just happen, it occurred because of how the Latino community is perceived. Studies, NHMC’s included, show time and again that people develop perceptions primarily from the media they consume, be it from the press, radio, film or television. If Latinos are absent in media, or depicted one dimensionally or stereotypically, negative perceptions of Latinos permeate the belief systems of non-Latinos. And as much as I love media, there is no denying its historical role in fueling anti-Latino opinions and attitudes that have led to Latino employment discrimination and prejudices throughout this nation. Chris Rock has accelerated the discussion regarding Latino participation in the industry and the entertainment industry is finding itself at a critical juncture. Latinos see more films, use more smartphones and applications to view their entertainment, we have more young people aged 25 and younger and as a population we are consuming at the rate of 1.5 trillion dollars a year. Is it really in Hollywood’s interest to keep us out of the industry? Can it really reach the Latino consumer on its own without us working both in front and back of camera? No, it can’t, and it now has to bring us into the business as it has been promising to do for at least the last 30 years that NHMC has been fighting on this front. The Latino talent and expertise is there, and what has to happen is for the television networks, film studios, production companies and talent agencies to make Latino inclusion an immediate business imperative. Laughing and agreeing with Chris by saying Latino inclusion is the right thing to do sounds good, but we would all rather you say it is good business, put your money where your mouths are, and get busy developing and executing plans to integrate your workforces. As our nation continues to struggle with its legacy of discrimination and prejudice, make no mistake about it, Hollywood must also decide on what side of history it wants to be.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, working towards a media that is fair and inclusive of Latinos, and towards universal, affordable, and open access to communications. Learn more at www.nhmc.org. Receive real-time updates on Facebookand Twitter @NHMC.]]>