Debuting towards the end of 2017, Zoe Saldana eagerly hopes to launch BeSe — a digital media company solely for Latino entertainment. Derived from the Spanish and English verb “to be”, it will target Generation Z and millennial audiences worldwide.
Latino audiences ranked as the second highest percentage of moviegoers in 2016 within minority groups. Recent calculations conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau demonstrates that up to 56.6 million Latinos make up 18 percent of the U.S population. In the same way, Latinos are the largest minority group and will reach up to 106 million by 2050.
With these statistics in mind, why aren’t Latinos dominating the media screen regularly? Why is it scarce to witness Latino directors, actresses/actors and producers nominated for mainstream awards and win?
Over the past five academy award seasons, only 3 Latino Hollywood stars were nominated in acting and directing categories. In 2015, 5.3% in 800 popular films had Latino characters compared to 73.7% Caucasian characters. So often in media Latinos are illustrated as stereotypical drug dealers from across the street who glorify violence. Even though this is the narrative for some Latinos in this world, it is not all. Most of us have educational jobs and self-proclaimed businesses.
Saldana, CEO of BeSe, will work alongside with various Latino media specialists to amplify the Latino narratives Hollywood fails to shine a spotlight on.
“I’m so excited to be leading BeSe, a truly uplifting brand that fills a niche for young audiences craving positive portrayals of the modern Latino experience in America. I’m grateful to partner with Daniel, Monica and Plus Foundry so that more voices can be heard and empower others to actively create their own futures,” expressed Saldana.
Our consumption of media and attitudes go hand in hand. In order subdue repugnant depictions of Latinos, we must pave the way with a forthright attitude. Others on the outside may be conditioned to believe Latinos are uneducated individuals or exotic beings to be sexualized. We must dismantle those beliefs by creating artistic mediums for neighboring communities. It will open their eyes to a diverse magnitude of different cultures. Children and adolescents will be encouraged to pursue subjects that society has forbidden them to explore. Positive portrayals will lessen commonly held stereotypes.