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Gina Rodriguez Shines a Spotlight on Latinx Talent With #MovementMondays

jane the virgin

Gina Rodriguez has been outspoken regarding issues of diversity pretty much since her star began to rise thanks to her stunning turn as Jane Villanueva on the hit CW show, Jane the Virgin. But with all the recent conversation surrounding #OscarsSoWhite she, like many people of color who aren’t black, want to remind those taking part in the conversation that “diversity” isn’t as simple as black and white.

It’s with this in mind that she’s launched a social media campaign she’s calling #MovementMondays in which she will spotlight Latinx talent that is worthy of supporting by going to their films, watching their shows, etc. Her first pick? Your favorite rebel pilot and mine, Oscar Isaac. Here’s her first post from her WhoSay account:

In an interview with USA Today, Rodriguez explains why she’s launched this campaign:

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 sore 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.

She also talked about the fact that, since Hollywood studios care deeply about the bottom line, that a great way for audiences to encourage the diversity in media that they seek is to support it financially:

Right now there isn’t one Latino that can Greenlight a movie. … The industry sees money, the excuse can’t be racism. We can make a difference in a very powerful way if we unite our support as one Latino community. … 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 [Mondays] by the way, shameless promotion feel free to watch on the CW) and we can take making a change into our own hands.

This is an awesome effort, and I hope that this movement catches on. As a Latina fan of pop culture I know that I don’t do enough – I don’t make it enough of a point to seek this stuff out, and it’s a shame. Too often, I let mainstream culture sway me, and that’s not cool. We could all use a reminder to fight our internalized bias programming and broaden the scope of the entertainment we enjoy.

At the same time, I think it’s dangerous to suggest that it’s all about money and numbers.

After all, The Hunger Games films and the Twilight films did huge business worldwide, and yet there are still qualms about making more films with female protagonists. Tyler Perry makes bank, and yet there are still qualms about films created by and starring mostly black people. We had a whole chunk of time there in the eighties and nineties where some of the most popular shows on television – The Cosby Show, Martin, In Living Color, Living Single, etc – had mostly-black casts, and now that’s just kind of…gone away. Shonda Rhimes “owns” Thursday nights on one network with three ridiculously successful, and hugely diverse shows…but what about the rest of the networks?  The Force Awakens is shaping up to be one of the biggest financial successes ever in film starring a white woman, a black man, and a Latino – and yet we’re still having a national conversation about #OscarsSoWhite and diversity in the entertainment industry.

If it were all about money and numbers, the shift would have already happened. We would already have the diversity we seek. But we don’t. Because despite numbers and facts, people continue to have blind spots when it comes to things like race, ethnicity, and gender, and those can’t be paid to go away. Facts die in the face of irrational biases. Racism and sexism aren’t “excuses.” They’re the entire reason why we’re currently having these difficult conversations.

Yes, we should continue to “vote with our dollars” to make our case unimpeachable, but we also have to understand that individual people – of all ethnicities, races, and genders – have to do the hard work of examining their biases. We can’t just skip over that part, nor can we continually put the onus on minority participants in our society to continually teach the white/male/straight/cisgender/able-bodied among us how to see others as human beings worthy of being represented more in media. They have to do it for themselves.

The only way we win is if people are willing to do the work of examining their biases, prioritizing change over anything else (including their own comfort), and acting on it.

Otherwise, it’s all just talk.

(via Women in Hollywood)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.