Celebrating Latinos in the Entertainment History

BY AMANDA MOSES

We are currently in the midst of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th to October 15th), a period in which we celebrate the generations of Hispanic and Latin Americans who have contributed to our history and culture. This commemoration was first observed in 1968 as a week-long celebration en-acted by President Lyndon John-son. It was later expanded to a month-long tribute and was en-acted into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. According to the Hispanic Heritage Month website (hosted by the Library of Congress), this observation honors the history and culture of those whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. In addition, the month-long recognition begins on September 15th because it marks the independence anniversary of: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. September is also when Mexico (September 16th) and Chile (September 18th) re-ceived their independence.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Spring Creek Sun has compiled a list of Hispanic filmmakers, actors, and screen writers who are revolutionizing the entertainment industry.

Guillermo del Toro is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He is known for his fantasy and horror films (notably Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water, Hellboy, and Crimson Peak). He has also penned chilling stories, such as; The Strain, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: Blackwood’s Guide to Dangerous Fairies, and several books dissecting the world of monsters he creates in his films. His interest in making fantasy and horror films began when he was a teenager, which also enticed him to learn about special effects makeup. In the 1980s he formed his own company, Necropia after working as a makeup supervisor for 10 years. In 1993, he made his big break with the film Cronos, which won nine Ariel Awards (a coveted Mexican entertainment accolade). Since that time, he has been nominated and won several Academy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and others.

Rosie Perez is a Puerto Rican actress, talk show host, author, dancer, and activist born in Bushwick, Brooklyn in 1964. For decades, Perez has broken through racial barriers earning Emmy and Oscar nominations for her roles in: Do The Right Thing, Fearless, White Men Can’t Jump, and her work as a choreographer in the TV show, In Living Color. In 1993, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Carla Rodrigo in Fearless. Currently, she is starring as Renee Montoya (a disgruntled detective turned vigilante) in the upcoming superhero film Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, which will be released in February 2020. (Photo by Dean Moses)

Alfonso Cuarón is a director, cinematographer, screenwriter, and producer. He was born in Mexico City, Mexico and is known for his films: Gravity, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and a variety of other films. His most re-cent endeavor, Roma shed light on domestic workers during the 1970s in Mexico City and received an Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

Lin-Manuel Miranda is an American composer, lyricist, playwright, and producer, who gained infamy for creating and staring in the Broadway musicals Hamilton and In the Heights. Born in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Miranda’s Hamilton earned a Pulitzer Prize in drama, 16 Tony nominations, and a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. He was also the co-com-poser and co-lyricist for the Broad-way show, Bring it On: The Musical. Miranda is a humanitarian who has actively supported relief efforts in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, particularly working with Federation’s UNIDOS Disaster Relief and Recovery Program.

Laura Gómez is a Dominican actress, writer, and director known for her role as Blanaca Flores in the series, Orange is the New Black. Her character explores the experience of a Dominican immigrant stuck dealing with the penitentiary system and the US Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) Agency. Gómez was born in New Jersey and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She has starred, produced, and directed several short films such as; To Kill A Roach and Hallelujah. Gómez is also an advocate for LGBTQ rights within Latin America and the Black Lives Matter movement.