This week I had the privilege of spending two days in L.A. with the Latino Donor Collaborative. I have written about the organization many times and one of the things they do is host intimate convenings where the highest ranking people in entertainment and business get together with the LDC board and discuss the primary trends affecting our economy, namely technology and demographics, and specifically the Hispanic market. At this week’s convening, Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, Tony Vinciquerra, CEO of Sony Pictures, Peter Chernin, CEO of the Chernin Group, and Eugenio Derbez, the producer and star of the hit movie Overboard came by to meet with the group and participated in some pretty compelling discussions. Those of us on the board and who were invited had the chance to watch Sol Trujillo do his thing and beat everyone over the head with facts and figures about the Latino market – including the fact that Hispanics account for 26% of movie ticket sales in America, while only 2% of studio films feature a Latino or Latina in a lead role. Beyond being incredibly unfair to Latinos in the film industry, this is an important issue to address because the portrayal of Latinos in the media is enormously important if your goal is to advance the Latino brand in America. For me, Eugenio Derbez was a highlight of the event. The Mexican comedic star has apparently “cracked the code” in Hollywood and is making films that portray Hispanics in a positive light, employ other Hispanics, and make lots of money. I found Derbez to be a humble and genuine man and hope he makes many more successful films in the coming years. At the last convening, Les Moonves, the head of CBS, boasted to the LDC that his company had seven new television shows with Latinos in lead roles. After only seven years, the LDC is starting to see the positive impact of its work. My hat is off to Sol and Ana Valdez for their tireless work.
We hear frequently how Latinos are not a monolithic community. In other words, we are not all the same. We come from different countries, have a variety of political views, and even eat different foods. I get all of that, but I also think focusing constantly on our differences versus our similarities undermines our political and economic power as a community...
This might be my most provocative blog in a while. Let me first state that I am happily married to a beautiful gringa. My kids are half- White and some of my best friends throughout my life have been White, so don’t let the title of this blog throw you.
A few weeks ago, Twitter was blowing up when John Leguizamo spoke out against the recent casting of James Franco as Fidel Castro in the independent film ‘Alina of Cuba’. Leguizamo took plenty of heat for his stance and was ridiculed by some including Bill Maher.