The newest report from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has discovered that, regardless of making up about 20 % of the U.S. inhabitants, the Hispanic/Latinx group “remains almost invisible on screen.” Published in partnership with UnbeliEVAble Entertainment and Wise Entertainment, “Hispanic and Latino Representation in Film: Erasure On Screen & Behind the Camera Across 1,300 Popular Movies” examines the prevalence of Hispanic/Latinx talking characters and off-screen creatives in 2007-2019’s prime movies, and offers an evaluation of stereotyping in 2019 films.
Released as Hispanic Heritage Month begins, the report concludes that solely seven % of 2019’s prime movies featured a Hispanic/Latinx lead or co-lead, and simply 3.5 % of leads/co-leads throughout the 13-year pattern have been Hispanic/Latinx. “However, more than half of leading/co-leading Hispanic/Latino actors were girls and women across the 1,300 movies examined, including 6 of the 7 lead/co-lead actors in 2019,” a press launch for the examine notes. “Yet, Hispanic/Latina girls/women still represent only 1.9% of all leads/co leads across 1,300 films.”
Less than six % of talking or named characters in 2019’s prime movies have been Hispanic/Latinx; 35 of these films featured zero Hispanic/Latinx talking characters. Just 5 % of all characters throughout 2007-2019’s prime films have been Hispanic/Latinx; 567 of these 1,300 movies, or 43.6 %, didn’t have a single Hispanic/Latinx character.
Study co-author Dr. Stacy L. Smith referred to as out studios which might be publicly celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month but have contributed to those dismal stats by failing to make use of Hispanic/Latinx people on-screen or off. She stated, “As companies celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month through online posts, events, and employee resource groups, the evidence is clear that concern for inclusion happens when convenient or expected and not when it comes to greenlighting films by, for, and about the Hispanic/Latino community.”
The state of affairs is very grim for Hispanic/Latina girls. Fifty-nine of 2019’s hottest movies included zero Hispanic/Latina ladies or girls as talking or named characters. From 2007-2019, “a total of 856 films completely erased girls/women from the Hispanic/Latino community.” Women aged 45 or older solely held three roles throughout the 13-year pattern, and two of them went to Jennifer Lopez.
When Hispanic/Latinx people are included on-screen, their characters are sometimes stereotyped. “More than one quarter (29.8%) of Hispanic/Latino speaking characters and 39.5% of top-billed Hispanic/Latinos across 100 movies of 2019 were depicted as criminals,” the examine finds. 13.2 % of top-billed and 13.8 % of all Hispanic/Latinx talking characters have been depicted as poor, whereas 13.2 % of top-billed and eight.5 % of talking characters have been coded as “foreign.”
Going behind-the-scenes, solely 4.2 % of administrators of the highest 1,300 movies from 2007-2019 have been Hispanic/Latinx. Only three administrators throughout that pattern have been Hispanic/Latina girls: Patricia Riggen, Melina Matsoukas, and Roxann Dawson. The examine authors calculated that “the ratio of white men to Hispanic/Latino women directors across 1,300 films was 200 to 1.” Only three % of producers throughout the 13-year pattern have been Hispanic/Latinx. Of these producers, 21.9 % have been girls. All in all, Hispanic/Latina girls comprised lower than one % of producers on the highest films from 2007-2019.
“Representation on screen matters for our community — it shapes not just how others see us, but also how we see ourselves. It’s imperative that our media includes narratives that uplift Latino and Hispanic voices,” stated Eva Longoria, President and CEO, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment. “We need to see ourselves in storytelling and we need the world to see the joy, the power, and the heart of our community in ways that are still all too rare. Media can make a difference in our world and we need to see real change.”
“There have always been excuses [for not hiring Hispanic/Latinx folks for movies], but those simply do not make sense any longer,” burdened Mauricio Mota, Co-President of Wise Entertainment. “We can’t blame it on the ‘pipeline’: it exists. We can’t blame ‘a lack of stars’: they are there, and they over deliver. We can’t blame it on the absence of below-the-line talent: they exist and have earned the right to get the big jobs. And last but not least we can’t say there are not enough Latinx/Hispanic stories: there are 700 million people consuming them. It’s time we are not taken for granted anymore.”
Read the Inclusion Initiative’s full “Hispanic and Latino Representation in Film” report here.