Hollywood’s Lack of Diversity Mocked by America Ferrera and Eva Longoria

By Sheryl Estrada

Actresses America Ferrera (left) and Eva Longoria at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 10.

At the 2016 Golden Globe Awards ceremony on Sunday night,actresses America Ferrera and Eva Longoriaused wit to make a point to Hollywood about its subtle racism:stop consistently mistaking Latina actresses for each other.

Before presenting the award for Best Actor in a TV Drama, Longoria and Ferrera shared a funny but powerful exchange:

“I’m Eva Longoria, not Eva Mendes,” Longoria, star of “Telenovela,” said.

“And, hi, I’m America Ferrera, not Gina Rodriguez,” Ferrera, star of “Superstore,”said next.

“Neither one of us are Rosario Dawson,” added Longoria.

“Nope. Well said, Salma,” said Ferrera, referring to Salma Hayek.

“Thank you, Charo,” said Longoria.

During the Golden Globe nominations announcementson Dec. 10, a Twitter post on the award show’s official account confused Ferrera, one of the announcers of the nominees, with actress Gina Rodriguez, resulting in backlash from fans.

Last year, Rodriguez, star of the TV show “Jane the Virgin,” won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV musical or comedy series. She was nominated again this year but did not win. In 2007 Ferrera won a Golden Globe in the same category for her role in the TV comedy “Ugly Betty.”

See a clip of Longoria and Ferrera’s exchange:

In an interview Monday on “The Talk,” Longoria was asked if she’s always had to deal with being confused with otherLatina actors. “It always happens,” she responded.

Regarding her bit with Ferrera, she said, “I have to give all the credit to America … she said, ‘We should do this bit’… we just kind of did it last minute and it killed.”

Longoria shared she’s constantly mistaken for Eva Mendes, “I’m always getting called Eva Mendes … they’ll say ‘oh my god, I loved you on “Desperate Housewives,” Eva Mendes come here! But, she’s beautiful, so I’m okay with that. They’ve got the right person, but they confuse the name.”

Related Story: Hollywood Projects Stunning Lack of Diversity

The study “Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Character Gender, Race and LGBT Status,” released in August, illustrates the disparities that continue to exist in Hollywood.

The University of Southern California’s Media, Diversity and Social Change (MDSC) Initiative analyzed 700 high-grossing films from 2007 to 2014, which includes more than 30,000 speaking characters. In the top 100 films, only 4.9 percent of speaking or named characters are Latino, which is gross underrepresentation of the country’s demographics: Latinos comprise 17.1 percent of the population, according to the 2013census.

The report also states that women only portray 30.2 percent of the 30,835 speaking characters in top-grossing films in the U.S. from 2007 to 2014. This means leading role opportunities for Latina actors in films are even scarcer.

Researchers noted that in top animated films, there was a 25.4 percent increase in underrepresented speaking characters in 2014 compared to 2007. In 2014, the majority of diverse speaking characters in an animated film appeared in “The Book of Life,” director and animator Jorge Gutirrez’s first feature film. The animation celebrates Da de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a holiday that celebrates those who have passed.

According to the report “2015 Hollywood Diversity Report: Flipping the Script,” from the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, top Hollywood film executives are still predominantly male and white: “The corps of CEOs and/or chairs running the 18 studios examined was 94 percent white and 100 percent male.”

The report foundthat, in terms of diversity, TV fares better than film. There are many more TV shows produced each year and the budgets are typically much smaller.

“Film always lags behind television,” Darnell Hunt, the study’s co-author and director of the Bunche Center, said. “I think part of it has to deal with, in many ways, the higher risk associated with film.”

Latina actorsare making their mark in primetime television. For example, along withLongoria, Rodriguez andFerrera, who lead shows,Jennifer Lopez personally exercised creative control in making her new show”Shades of Blue.

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