Gina Rodriguez Speaks Out On Oscar Diversity

by Daniela Cabrera

For the second year in a row, the social media hashtag #OscarsSoWhite has become the prominent talking point concerning the Academy Awards. Many of the actors speaking out and calling for the boycott of this year's awards are black and the list of Oscar snubs for this year also mostly focus on black members of the film industry, while the voices of other minorities seem to have been lost in the shuffle. While more representation across the board is the goal, as a Latina woman, the lack of representation of Latino faces on television and film is an issue near to my heart, and I am proud to see one particular prominent face stand up to the issue. On Monday, Gina Rodriguez launched the hashtag #MovementMonday on social media, and she's just the voice Latinos need in the storm of the Academy Awards' diversity problems.

On her WhoSay account, the Jane the Virgin star posted a photo of Oscar Isaac, who is undoubtedly becoming a powerful force in Hollywood. He was a critics favorite for his role in Ex Machina this past year, and Rodriguez (and I) consider his performance to be one that was overlooked by the Academy, and the actor started off her post by saying so. She then moved on to a call for action from the Latino community to support Latino projects.

She wrote,

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. Right now there isn't one Latino that can Greenlight a movie.

As I see it, Rodriguez is the perfect Latino actor to lead this movement. She is the lead star of a highly successful television show, and won the 2015 Golden Globe for her role. What I find most inspiring, is the fact that Jane the Virgin is a (occasionally bilingual) primetime show that is modeled after Latin telenovelas, a medium that has been a cultural staple for Latino communities for many years.

Since becoming a household name, Rodriguez has used her position to support Latino causes and speak out on many of the issues that affect us here in this country. Last year, she spoke out about not being considered "Latino enough" because she didn't speak fluent Spanish. Naturally, she took the criticism with ease and instantly became a positive inspiration for many young women and Latinos across the country, when she told The Huffington Post, "I am as Latina as they come. And I am not defined by anybody's definition of Latina. I don't actually sit in a definition. I walk in my world, happily and confidently."

As for her #MovementMonday campaign, Rodriguez wrote that she plans to highlight a Latino in the entertainment industry every Monday that the community should support, and is encouraging others to share photos and do the same:

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!

Rodriguez is right. To be seen, we need projects, and to have projects we need support and people willing to write and direct them. As with other minorities in this business, our communities must stand together and make a noise that can no longer be ignored by the Academy and beyond.