Latine representation in Hollywood, or lack thereof, has been a conversation that has been happening since the Golden Age. Now, almost a century removed from silver screen breakthroughs like Katy Jurado, Lupe Vélez, and Dolores del Río, Hollywood has not progressed.
And, even though there have been breakthroughs in between (Rita Moreno’s Oscar-winning performance up to Yalitza Aparicio Best Actress nomination in 2018), the history of Latine representation in entertainment is complicated. Anthony Quinn, Martin Sheen, and Raquel Welch were Latine actors who Americanized their names for a chance at success. Sammy Davis Jr., the famous crooner and member of the Rat Pack, was half Cuban (though he lied for years that his mom was Puerto Rican in fear of anti-Cuban backlash). Politics and racism within communities are certainly nothing new, even outside of Hollywood.
Within Tinseltown, films with Latine leads or films centered on Latin Americans are still so scarce that there are fights for a piece of a piece of the pie when they should be looking at the whole damn thing. At the center of this is the recent Jon Chu/Lin Manuel Miranda/Quiara Alegría Hudes musical film In the Heights. A film that everyone has done a post mortem on why it underperformed (significantly) despite the hype and build-up from the media.