Esai Morales to Hollywood: Stop with the negative stereotypes

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    Esai Morales, award-winning actor and director, speaks on Hollywood’s role in stereotyping Latinos. (Photo Facebook Esai Morales)

    Not sure if you’ve noticed, but Latinos are everywhere. They are the center of attention of television networks, online media and advertisers.

    Yet the attention is new.

    Mainstream media and Hollywood have played a role in stereotyping Latinos as poor, as “illegal” immigrants, as promiscuous, or violent, says Esai Morales, award-winning actor and director who starred in the film “La Bamba” and the TV series”NYPD Blue.”

    But Latinos have inched their way up the ladder to board rooms as CEOs, have become entrepreneurs and business owners, and now are on their way to make a major break through in mainstream media.

    Why? There are three factors that play a role in this change. It has something to do with Latinos’ buying power of $1 trillion, with the fact that, at 50.5 million in population, they are the largest growing minority in the U.S. and with the numbers that prove they represent 22 million of eligible voters.

    Latinos are a strong market

    Turn on your television and there’s Sofia Vergara on ABC’s “Modern Family,” and Jennifer Lopez who has become a fixture in pop culture from MTV to “American Idol.”

    They beat the odds.

    “We have a lot to offer this nation, we are a part of this nation and we still get looked at a little sideways, with suspicion,” Morales said.

    His message to Hollywood is to stop typecasting Latinos. Embrace them for everything that they are. Younger generations need Latino role models and they are looking to Hollywood. To continue depicting Latinos negatively in film and TV is to contribute to these stereotypes and the consequences they bring.

    Morales is master of ceremonies for VOXXI’s official launch tonight at the Newseum in Washington D.C. He joins Emilio Sanchez, VOXXI’s president and CEO, and politicians Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, and Rep. Mario Diaz Balart, R-FL.

    “There are messages buried in everything,” said Morales on films, adding, “Let’s find them. Let’s look for them and dissect them. Is it good for us or is it bad for us? And if its bad for us, let’s just don’t go.”

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