It’s Hispanic - I mean, Latinx - Heritage Month, and we have great news: Hollywood solved its diversity problem!
The tongue-in-cheek diversity victory claim and running theme of this year’s 70th primetime Emmy awards was rooted in some basis of reality. Like, there was a record-breaking 36 nominees with diverse backgrounds in acting categories this year. And Sandra Oh became the first Asian-American actress nominated for a lead role in the drama category.
But the only thing more self-congratulatory than a Hollywood award show is a Hollywood award show taking credit for solving it’s own widespread, deeply rooted and often self-imposed neglect for representation.
If we’ve learned anything from Trump’s America it’s that claiming premature success over a complex problem is a giant red flag for self-aggrandizing bullshit.
And sure, it’s healthy to acknowledge progress we’re making when it comes to on-screen representation, but one thing is difficult to ignore: There’s a major lack of Latinx stories when it comes to the list of nominees.
And Asian stories…and Indian stories…how much time do you have?
While some Latinx actors like Édgar Ramirez and Ricky Martin for the Assasination of Gianni Versace, John Leguizamo for Waco, and Lin-Manuel Miranda for Curb Your Enthusiasm received nominations, other series centering around Latinx stories including Narcos, Jane the Virgin, Vida, and Orange is the New Black received no nominations at all.
But the biggest Emmy snub in my book? The one that threatened to shatter my fragile soul (It’s not that fragile. Calm down) is the fact that among Netflix’s 112 nominations, only one for Multi-Camera Picture Editing For A Comedy Series was bestowed upon it’s epic Cuban immigrant family reboot, One Day at a Time.
Meaning that the heart and hilarity of the show’s timely and relevant depiction of this Latinx immigrant family’s experiences, the unparalled authenticity of it’s writing, the brilliance of its creator Gloria Calderon Kellett, and the genius of it’s stars Justina Machado and the legendary Rita Moreno went completely ignored.
As staff writer Isabella Gomez of Teen Vogue put it, “At a time when politicians continue to perpetuate harmful stereotypes about Latinxs and other minority communities, it’s vital for us to see ourselves reflected in characters like the overachieving Jane and the know-it-all Elena: full of potential and incredibly resilient. We need…organizations such as the Television Academy to pay attention.”
She’s got a point.
And speaking of Jane the Virgin, it’s lead actress, Gina Rodriguez, a frequently outspoken advocate for Latinx inclusion in Hollywood, has offered a bit of hope at a time that many feel doesn’t particularly favor immigrants or people of color.
Rodriguez found a creative way to use the power of an award show to demonstrate support for her community when she requested from her showrunner to re-allocate Jane The Virgin’s Emmy campaign money to help fund a scholarship that would send a Latinx student to college.
The recipient? A Princeton University-bound undocumented high school student who will now have her entire tuition funded. Which is kinda like a really smart, generous, badass way of saying screw you to award shows altogether. Also, her dress as an Emmy presenter was ridic.
Happy Latinx Heritage month!