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Should You Boycot Television Altogether?


Our good friends over at Latino Rebels posted a guest op-ed from the creators of the web series East WillyB— a show about characters who live in Bushwick fighting to keep the neighborhood’s Latino identity in the face of gentrification– imploring you to boycott television and support independent programming. The plea comes in the wake of a controversy involving actor Amaury Nolasco. whose character Angel on the ABC sitcom Work It utters the line, “I’m Puerto Rican, I’d be great at selling drugs!” (Latino Rebels, by the way, have done a fantastic job in covering this story, and if I’m not mistaken have reached out to Nolasco to give him an opportunity to clarify himself)

Creator/Executive producer of East WillyB Julia Ahumada Grob makes very convincing arguments in her post (please read it, it’s worth your time). Amongst them is that despite that fact that one  in six people in this country are Latino we are hardly represented on screen. And when we do show up on screen, it’s either as a lazy Mexican, a gang member, drug trafficker, undocumented worker, a superstitious abuelita, exotic Latina, or hypersexual and threatening male. Unsurprisingly, all these shows/characters are the brain children of white writers and producers.

Watch it. It's good.

On a personal and professional level, I can’t partake on this boycott. For starters, I was raised by television and movies (blame it on having two parents who worked all the time to support us) and to cut it out would be detrimental to my health. Additionally, as Managing Editor of this site, I take pride in using this forum to call out B.S. like CBS’s upcoming sitcom Rob! (you better believe we’re going to watch it and deconstruct it for tomorrow).

With that said, I encourage you to participate.

And to Latino filmmakers, actors and writers, a challenge: make your stuff as great as possible and don’t employ the same stereotypical tropes made by the content producers you’re aiming to replace. It goes without saying that your project isn’t guaranteed to be good simply because you’re a Latino/Latina. Often times I get accused of hating on my own kind for not liking the projects of other Latinos, and often times said projects employ the same stereotypical characters used by white writers and directors. I’m looking at you, Gregory Nava. That might have been your reality growing up, but it’s not mine. Not everyone is a cholo gangster.

So yes, support Latino independent television.

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