Tanya Saracho Among Top TV & Film Creators Demanding More Latinx Representation in Hollywood

Tanya Saracho is calling for more Latinx representation in Hollywood…

The Mexican playwright, screenwriter and actress is among some of the top creators in television and film who are demanding for change when it comes to Latinx representation as Hispanic Heritage Months comes to an end.

Tanya Saracho

In an open letter to Hollywood more than 270 Latinx showrunners, creators, and television and feature writers, including Saracho, Lin-Manuel MirandaGloria Calderon-Kellett, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Steven Canals, John Leguizamo, Linda Yvette-Chavez, Carolina Paiz, Marco Ramirez, Javier Grillo-Marxuach and more are calling for systemic change in the entertainment industry.

The letter begins: “As we come to the end of Hispanic Heritage Month in the midst of a global pandemic and continued racial injustice, many of us in the Latinx community have found it difficult to celebrate. Inspired by the activism of the Black and Indigenous communities, many of whom also identify as Latinx, we stand in solidarity with our fellow Black, Native and Indigenous writers, co-signing their WGAW Open Letters and echoing their demands for systemic change in our industry.”

“As Latinx Showrunners, Creators, TV and Feature Writers, we are incensed by the continued lack of Latinx representation in our industry, especially among the Black and Indigenous members of our community,” the letter continues. “Our stories are important, and our erasure onscreen contributes to the persistent prejudice that prevents real change in this country. This prejudice is not as overt as the one that keeps immigrant children in cages and separates families at the border, or as violent as the racism that is killing our Black, Brown, and Indigenous community members at the hands of police.”

“But when we are onscreen, we’re often relegated to stereotypes or villains. And as a recent​ ​New York Times OpEd​ states, ‘White elites cannot muffle a huge, vibrant community for decades and not expect consequences. For Latinos in the Trump era, these consequences are deadly, from Hurricane Maria to the Walmart shooting in El Paso and the pandemic, as well as soaring hate crimes.’”

The letter points out that the Latinx community makes up 18.3% of the U.S. population but it is not reflected in film and TV. There are only 4.7% feature writers and 8.7% TV writers that are Latinx. As Latinx writers move up to Showrunner level, the stats only get more dismal. “By refusing to tell our stories AND by refusing to put us in charge of telling them — Hollywood power brokers are complicit in our exclusion,” the letter remarks.

This is even further supported by a recent study from CAA and Parrot Analytics, which shows that even though television shows are a lot more diverse than they were three years ago, not all racial and ethnic groups were equally well represented in scripted debuts. Latinos and Hispanics remain significantly underrepresented despite being one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country.

While there are shows like One Day At A Time that having managed to get multiple season orders, there have been other Latino-fronted shows in the past years, like The Baker and the Beauty and United We Fall — that have been canceled before getting the chance to find their footing beyond one season.

The letter can be summarized with three words included heavily throughout: “We are tired.”

The open letter does not mince words with the demands and draws out exactly what needs to be done including creating stories for and about the Latinx community by Latinx creators; greenlighting Latinx-fronted projects; respecting all aspects and intersections of the Latinx cultural representation; and hiring Latinx creators for non-Latinx projects.

The letter, which was posted on social channels with the hashtag #EndLatinXclusion, closes with “Stories are powerful. Stories change the world. Let’s get on the right side of history so we can continue to create needed change and tell captivating stories together.”

This initiative was launched by the Untitled Latinx Project (ULP) founded by Saracho. It’s an all-Latina advocacy group formed to increase representation of Latinx created stories for television. The goal of this call to action was uniting the professional community of Latinx writers, creators and showrunners.

Read the letter in full here.

Trujillo Wins Outstanding Choreography Prize at Outer Critics Circle Awards

Sergio Trujillo is a Critics’ choice…

The Colombian choreographer earned Outstanding Choreography honors at this year’s Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Sergio Trujillo

Trujillo, a Tony Awards nominee this year, earned the recognition for his work on On Your Feet! The Emilio and Gloria Estefan Musical.

Meanwhile, Marco Ramirez won the John Gassner Award, which is presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright, for penning The Royale.

The Latino playwright/author made his off-Broadway debut with the Lincoln Center Theater opening of the new drama about the early life of the boxer Jack Johnson.

The Outer Critics Circle’s prizes serve as an imperfect bellwether for the Tony Awards, since a number of significant titles in the Tony race – most notably Hamilton – weren’t eligible for the OCCs this year because they were recognized in prior incarnations and in previous years. Another Tony player, Shuffle Along, didn’t open in time to be considered by the OCCs.

OCC winners will receive awards at a May 26 ceremony at Sardi’s.

Here’s the full list of 2015-16 Outer Critics Circle Award winners:

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL (Broadway or Off-Broadway): Dear Evan Hansen
OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE (Broadway or Off-Broadway): Bright Star
OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY (Broadway or Off-Broadway): Long Day’s Journey Into Night
OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL (Broadway or Off-Broadway): She Loves Me
OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY: Ivo van Hove, A View From the Bridge
OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL: Michael Arden, Spring Awakening
OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN (Play or Musical): David Rockwell, She Loves Me
OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN (Play or Musical): Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me
OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN (Play or Musical): Justin Townsend, American Psycho the Musical
OUTSTANDING PROJECTION DESIGN (Play or Musical): Finn Ross, American Psycho the Musical
OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY: Frank Langella, The Father
OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY: Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Danny Burstein , Fiddler on the Roof
OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple the Musical
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY: Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY (TIE VOTE): Pascale Armand, Eclipsed & Judith Light, Thérèse Raquin
OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE: James Lecesne, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
JOHN GASSNER AWARD: Marco Ramirez, The Royale
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: James Houghton, Signature Theatre Company