A common complaint is that Latinos don't see themselves enough in film and television. (Or if we are on television and film screens, the images of ourselves can be quite limiting.)
Another concern often brought up is that mainstream U.S. producers do not know how to market to Latinos. (Will Mexican Americans see a film about a Caribbean Latino in New York? Will a Caribbean Latino in New York see a movie about Chicanos in the Southwest?)
Yet another common remark is that once a Latino project is presented to Latinos, Latinos don't watch it on television, nor pay for tickets at the movie theater nor support in any other way.
Well, there are ways to remedy some of these issues, and that is simply by supporting Latino work– go see that independent film by a Latino director, or that story that doesn't show Latinos in a stereotypical way. Go see the television shows with Latino cast members in it and the handful of television series about Latinos (even if they turn out to not be great, at least take the time to see the first couple of episodes). And if it is a webseries, get online and see it on your computer or smartphone. Buy tickets and attend theater written by Latinos, directed by Latinos and/or produced by Latinos. Buy that novel by a Latino author (perhaps he/she may already have a Pulitzer on his/her mantel).
And now with the advent of social media, there is another, extremely easy way to support Latino work. Whenever you are tweeting or posting about a Latino project just add the phrase "#SupportLatinoWork". Imagine if thousands (or tens or hundreds of thousands or more) use this hashtag so that #SupportLatinoWork becomes a trending topic.
By adding this hashtag, you can...
• Show your support for a Latino project via simple promotion
• Tell the "powers-that-be" can better know what we like and market to us accordingly
• Unify the Latino consumer so that we can transform our growing numbers into purchasing power
• Proclaim that "Latino work" (work that reflects Latinos in ways based on reality and not simply stereotypes) is something you as a consumer like and want more of in the near future.
With projects like Gun Hill Road; 200 Cartas; Bless Me Última; Miss Bala; Mosquita y Mari and Instructions Not Included either racking up awards at film festivals and/or even breaking records at the box office; and television shows such as "The George López Show" and "Ugly Betty" being successful and creating a cultural impact in the U.S., OUR VOICES CAN AND NEED TO BE HEARD.
And perhaps #SupportLatinoWork can be a clarion call, a simple way Latinos can stand up and say, "¡Presente!" to the mainstream powers that be (even if we do it sitting down at our computers and typing it on our keyboards).
If you want to see more non-stereotypical images of Latinos in the media, if you want to be able to know when and where Latino stories are being presented in film and television, if you want to see YOU on film, television and new media, it's the least you can do.