US singer Marc Anthony performs in the framework of the Salsa Festival in Boca del Rio, Veracruz state, Mexico on May  19, 2013.

US singer Marc Anthony performs in the framework of the Salsa Festival in Boca del Rio, Veracruz state, Mexico on May 19, 2013. (Photo/Getty Images)

Opinion: Marc Anthony misses the point about Hollywood and Latinos

Marc Anthony just killed my buzz.

Just a week after I wrote a column giving the pop star major props for how he handled the “God Bless America” social media uproar, Anthony is now telling everyone that Hollywood doesn’t owe Latinos anything.

Rewind that, please?

In an interview with HuffPost Live, the show’s host asked if there were “space to have a different kind of Latino representation” in entertainment, given the whole Devious Maids debacle.

After a quick little comment about “the show with the fine maids,” Anthony said this:

As far as people being in uproar, they don’t owe us anything The industry doesn’t owe us anything, networks don’t owe us anything. You have a complaint? Educate yourself, take up writing, become a producer, direct it.

First, the question asked by the Huff Post Live’s Marc Lamont never asked Anthony if Hollywood owed Latinos anything, and never mind the comment about the “fine maids.” Let’s just try and dissect what Anthony is saying.

“People being in an uproar…”
You can’t have it both ways, Marc. The whole “uproar” from social media benefited you when the online haters were telling you to go back to Mexico. In that case, that “uproar” was seen as genuine support, but when you don’t agree with a point, it is an “uproar?” Got it.

“The industry doesn’t owe us anything, networks don’t owe us anything.”
In all the stories I have read or have written about Latino representation in Hollywood, I have never come across anyone ever saying that Latinos are “owed” representation. This is not about entitlement, as Anthony suggests, it is about trying to change the media landscape a bit, and you would think that after Anthony felt some of the hateful and ignorant perceptions people have about Latinos in this country, he wouldn’t have sounded so flippant. Thanks for nothing, Marc.

“You have a complaint? Educate yourself, take up writing, become a producer, direct it.” Seriously? Is Anthony this out of touch with what is happening? Is he not aware of the countless independent projects developed by Latinos? Here are just a few: East WillyB, Hey Vato, Pale Blue Light. These three shows (and there are countless others) have already been written, directed, and produced. No one is complaining. Latinos are doing exactly what you are saying, but why aren’t these projects hitting Hollywood?

The answer is simple: because the power to make these decisions and greenlight projects is still entrenched in promoting the same stale stereotypical narrative of US Latinos. Anthony’s comments don’t help either, because when entertainment executives hear his words, it only justifies why they aren’t clamoring for more creative and original Latino programming in the first place. If Marc Anthony thinks Hollywood doesn’t owe Latinos anything (which was not even the point of Lamont’s original question), then Hollywood won’t change.

RELATED: Marc Anthony’s album reveals a new perspective after ten-year hiatus from music

When I shared the original Anthony interview with my social networks, a few of my friends weighed in, proving once again that my friends are smarter than me:

I love his music, his voice but, he’s ignoring the fact that many Latinos are trying to write, and produce something different, but the big TV networks are not giving them the opportunities they deserve.

I find his comments to be out of touch, arrogant and disrespectful to the many talented writers, producers and directors who are struggling to get their content greenlit.

No one is owed anything, Marc, but now that you are in a position of success and influence, your words make you sound like another “I got mine” celebrity who forgot where he came from.

That is the sad part in all this, especially when virtually the entire Latino social media world stood up for you last week. You don’t owe us anything, Marc. Except maybe an apology.

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Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77 ) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond.  In the past 12 months, Julito represented the Rebeldes on Face the NationNPRUnivisionForbes, and The New York Times.

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Franky Benítez and commented:

    This week’s NBC Latino column.

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