How Gina Rodriguez Is Using Instagram to Start a Conversation About Diversity
When the Golden Globes caught flak for mistaking America Ferrera for Gina Rodriguez during the nominations announcement last month, some blamed the mix-up on an overall lack of Latino actors represented in Hollywood. Rodriguez shrugged off the mistake, but a new campaign she launched on social media seeks to show that there are far more Latino actors working today than just she and Ferrera.
On Monday, the Jane the Virgin star posted to her Instagram account an image of Guatemalan American Golden Globe–winner Oscar Isaac in the 2015 sci-fi film Ex Machina. Captioning the post #MovementMondays, Rodriguez encouraged her 704,000 followers to use the hashtag to post other photos of their favorite Latino actors to celebrate and promote their work.
"There are 55 million Latinos in this country and although we all come from various backgrounds our unity can make a movie explode at the box office or a TV show soar to the highest viewers possible," Rodriguez wrote. "The better these projects do financially, the more money they will spend on putting Latinos in blockbuster films, as leads in TV shows Etc."
Though Latinos make up about 17 percent of the U.S. population—and have massive influence at the box office—researchers say they are by far the most underrepresented minority group on television. Just 2 percent of characters in all broadcast scripted programming during the 2012–13 season were Latino, according to research conducted by UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. The number is only slightly larger in movies: 4.9 percent of all characters evaluated for race/ethnicity in the 100 top-grossing films of 2014 were Latino or Hispanic, according to researchers at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Movement Monday's. This is Oscar Isaac. He is a Guatemalan American actor. This is a picture from Ex Machina directed by Alex Garland and was released this past year. With all this Oscar Talk and lack of diversity I decided to start a movement and speak from the perspective of a Latina American who desires to see more Latinos on screen. There are 55 million Latinos in this country and although we all come from various backgrounds our unity can make a movie explode at the box office or a tv show soar to the highest viewers possible. The better these projects do financially, the more money they will spend on putting Latinos In blockbuster films, as leads in tv shows Etc. My solution is this, support is needed. Right now there isn't one Latino that can Greenlight a movie. That means no studio will put their money behind a Latino face as a lead of a movie because they don't believe we can make their money back. I am told time and time again "Latinos dont watch Latino Movies. Latinos don't support each other" and sadly that is true. I'm not saying go and see a movie you don't like to blind support, im saying if you want to see us represented on film and tv, if you want to see Latinos nominated for Oscars, we NEED to support one another. The industry sees money, the excuse can't just be racism. We can make a difference in a very powerful way if we unite our support as one Latino community. Oscar Isaac, in my opinion had an Oscar worthy performance in this film. Let's start making noise with where it matters most, where we put our dollars. Go support these films, watch these shows (mine is on tonight by the way, shameless promotion feel free to watch on the CW) and we can take making a change into our own hands. Each Monday I will highlight a latino artist we can support. Let us use our numbers and powerful voices to prove we support one another, to prove we can make a box office hit, to prove they need to support all the various Latino cultures in the media. That can be one part of the solution, so next year we have many movies that are worthy of Oscar contention! #MovementMondays Pick any Latino currently working we can support!
What is Rodriguez's solution to boosting those numbers? "The industry sees money, the excuse can't just be racism. We can make a difference in a very powerful way if we unite our support as one Latino community," she wrote. "Let's start making noise with where it matters most, where we put our dollars. Go support these films, watch these shows"—her series conveniently premiered its second season that night on The CW—"and we can take making a change into our own hands."
Rodriguez said her social media campaign, which comes as diversity has become a topic of conversation at the Sundance Film Festival, was inspired by widespread criticism over the academy's failure to nominate any actors of color in the Oscars' acting categories. The controversy triggered a revival of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite and prompted calls for a boycott, including from actor Jada Pinkett Smith. The academy responded on Friday by revising its voting rules and committing to double the number of women and people of color in its membership by 2020.
The #MovementMondays hashtag isn't the first time Rodriguez has used her platform to champion the voices of Latinos. During her Golden Globes acceptance speech last year, the actor emphasized the need not just for more diversity on-screen, but for a wider range of quality roles for Latinos. "This award is so much more than myself," she said. "It represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes."
TakePart's parent company, Participant Media, is a partner on Beasts of No Nation, as well as on Oscar-nominated films Spotlight, Bridge of Spies, and The Look of Silence.