The Latino Creatives Behind Your Favorite TV Shows Are On Strike Right Now
Our favorite TV shows have been there for us through the highs and lows, offering familiarity and comfort when we needed it most and introducing us to characters we've come to love. They made us laugh, they made us cry, and most importantly, they've made us feel seen. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in their stories it's easy to forget that there's a whole team of amazing people behind the scenes making it all come to life. And now, these unsung heroes who create the stories, write the lines, and make every scene feel real are struggling to make ends meet.
Streaming has rapidly become a dominant force in the entertainment industry. Although the industry disruptor delivered plenty of benefits, it also brought many significant challenges. Writers and actors are currently dealing with declining and sometimes non-existent compensation and worsening work conditions that haven't kept up with the new streaming business model.
To make matters worse, the startling inequality for Latino creatives in the industry persists, leading to a marked marginalization of Latino voices. They're fed up, and frankly, who can blame them?
In addition to the challenges Latino writers face in the television industry, there is also the pressing issue of the growing presence of artificial intelligence (AI) as a potential replacement for human workers and talent. This strike represents a significant endeavor by labor unions to push for industry regulations and even potential bans on the use of AI in place of human creatives. As technology advances and AI becomes more prevalent, this issue is likely to be addressed by unions in industries nationwide, sparking a broader conversation about the implications of AI in the workforce and the need to protect human labor and creativity.
For the first time since 1960, both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) are on strike.
This fight is about more than just ensuring your favorite characters get to stay on screen. The striking creatives are standing up for diversity, authenticity, and for the Latino stories that touch our hearts and minds that have also contributed to the billions of dollars the streamers and studios have raked in.
Sometimes, we're so immersed in the entertainment that we forget there are real people creating the shows we love. These Latino creatives bring us stories full of heart, laughs, and rich viewpoints that make binge-watching worthwhile. They are also now demanding their fair share of the steamer and studio wealth, which ultimately will ensure we see more of, not less, Latino content.
Tanya Saracho is an exceptional playwright and television writer celebrated for her groundbreaking contributions to the industry. As the creator, showrunner, and executive producer of the critically acclaimed series "Vida," she garnered widespread acclaim, earning a remarkable 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes across all three seasons. Saracho's creative endeavors extend beyond "Vida" as she passionately develops an array of television projects, showcasing her immense talent and versatility. Her profound impact transcends the screen, evidenced by her co-founding of the Untitled Latinx Project (ULP) and the Writers Access Support Staff Training Program.
With her innovative storytelling, Saracho continues to shape and elevate the entertainment landscape, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.
Steven Canals, an Afro-Latino writer hailing from the Bronx, co-created the revolutionary FX series "Pose" alongside Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. "Pose" takes viewers on a journey through New York's African-American and Latino LGBTQ+ and gender-nonconforming ballroom culture during the late '80s and early '90s. The series offers an intimate peek into a community often overlooked in mainstream media. "Pose" boasts the largest transgender cast in television history and has garnered critical acclaim.
Canals' remarkable work earned him recognition as a "writer to watch" by Variety in 2018, and he signed an overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television in 2020, further solidifying his position as a prominent figure in the industry.
Renowned for her sharp wit, Valentina Garza, a seasoned Cuban-American comedy writer, is best known for her substantial contributions to the iconic series, "The Simpsons," and the Jane the Virgin spin-off pilot, "Jane the Novela." She was also a writer for "Wednesday," "True Lies," and "Only Murders In The Building."
Garza's distinctive comedic voice has become a part of the series' fabric, lending it a refreshing diversity that resonates with a global audience.
A gifted writer, comedian, and actress, she has left an indelible mark on projects like "The Critics' Choice Super Awards" and the animated gem "Ralph Breaks the Internet." Beyond her written work, she has graced popular channels such as Nerdist, Geek & Sundry, and Screen Junkies, captivating audiences with her infectious energy and genuine love for all things nerdy. Dani Fernandez's talent and versatility have solidified her as a captivating force in the industry, delighting audiences across various mediums with her exceptional skills and energetic presence.
As a writer, creator, director, and podcast host, Erick Galindo has left no stone unturned in the entertainment industry. His journey as a biracial individual navigating two worlds in Southeast Los Angeles during the 90s informs his award-winning work. From his gripping podcasts "Idolo: The Ballad of Chalino Sanchez" and "WILD" to his cinematic projects, he tells stories that universally resonate while still reflecting his personal experiences. Currently, Galindo is collaborating with world champion boxer Canelo Alvarez on an animated TV series, assuring us that there are more fascinating stories to come.
Gloria Calderón Kellett
As the executive producer, co-creator, co-showrunner, director, and actress of the beloved sitcom "One Day at a Time," Gloria Calderón Kellett has captivated audiences with her heartfelt storytelling. Her talents extend to the streaming realm with the series "With Love."
Not stopping there, now she's bringing us "The Horror of Dolores Roach." With a background as the daughter of Cuban immigrants and an impressive resume that includes writing, producing, acting, and directing on shows like "Devious Maids," "Rules of Engagement," and "How I Met Your Mother," Calderón Kellett is a true powerhouse.
Rafael Agustin's exceptional storytelling skills and personal journey as a formerly undocumented American have shaped his contributions to shows like "Jane The Virgin" and his TV family comedy, "Illegal." Agustin's groundbreaking 2004 autobiographical comedy, "N*gger Wetb*ck Ch*nk," garnered widespread acclaim from esteemed publications such as the LA Times and the New York Times for its powerful exploration of social justice issues.
Most recently, Agustin authored his memoir, "Illegally Yours." When he's not creating widely acclaimed projects, he is also serving as the Executive Director of the Latino Film Institute, overseeing the renowned Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival and their educational film program, the Youth Cinema Project.
Recognized as one of the fifty most essential people in Los Angeles by LA Weekly, Agustin's influence extends far beyond the entertainment industry. He is a passionate advocate for human rights and uses storytelling as a powerful tool for change.
The ongoing strike serves as a powerful reminder of the challenges industry creatives face. It's a pivotal moment in the labor market, and this strike is prompting a broader conversation about the future of work and the importance of valuing human creativity in the face of advancing technology.
Whether you march alongside them on picket lines, contribute to their cause, or merely help spread the word, the Latino community could help ensure the voices of Latino creatives are heard and celebrated in the ever-evolving landscape of tv and film.
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