The Error of Blaming The #Latino Community for Celebrities’ Flops
I’ve always wondered why certain celebrities say that Latinos aren’t united and don’t support each other. Especially when it comes to Hollywood.
You can’t conflate entertainment with charity or support. It’s disingenuous to blame the community for our flopped ventures. Especially since we’re venturing into the business side of it. The bottom line is that Latinos consume the same content everybody else does. It has nothing to do with who is in front or behind the camera. To Latinos, just like everybody else, content is king. If the content you create and present doesn’t pick up legs, it’s no one’s fault but yours. It’s extreme narcissism to think otherwise.
Don’t get me wrong, your work might be brilliant, but just like any product out there, if people don’t want it, it shouldn’t propel you to condemn them for it.
Latinos will watch a movie or a show with any ethnicity or race leading it, as long as it is what they like. Did Chicanos stop watching the Fast and Furious films because Michelle Rodriguez is Dominican and Puerto Rican? Did Cubans stop watching Ugly Betty because America Ferrera is Honduran? Did it stop people from watching San Andreas because the Rock is Black and Samoan? Absolutely not.
If our publications, networks, movies, and shows are tanking it is because people aren’t interested. It’s unfair to say that it’s because “we fight too much with each other.” That internal strife when it comes to entertainment is a myth. Especially since no one has shown any significant material effect from it except for anecdotal experiences—not even one study. Things will never change about it because it’s grasping at straws. You can’t make something happen or change that doesn’t exist.
We are different people-from different cultures and different tastes. One thing that unites us is the same taste for pop culture. It transcends nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, and sex. Nothing else. Nothing more. Yes, we are united in the struggle to be validated, but that’s as far as it goes when it comes to business and entertainment. Give people what they really want. Not what they tell you they want, but what they show you they want. You can’t force or guilt them into action.
Go back to the drawing board, learn from your mistakes, erase them and start anew. We’ve been down this road before. Why do we keep harping at it? Stop it. We’re smarter than this.
Another thing: Whenever you feel the need to blame anyone for your failures, always punch up. Never punch down. The people above are the ones making decisions without being conscious of what will or will not work. Sometimes they are conscious and create these failures before they launch just so they can continue to leave us out. It’s not the community’s fault. There’s nothing honorable, respectable, admirable, or even Christian-like about blaming them for it.
Punch up. Not down. The pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps angle is wrong–even when it comes to entertainment. We’re better than this. Let’s act like it.
César Vargas is a producer, writer, director, and diversity activist. He founded UPLIFTT(United People for Latinos in Film TV and Theater) and is president of Burning Ones Productions. You can reach him on Twitter at @CesarVargas365 and Facebook at www.facebook.com/CesarVargas365