National Hispanic Heritage Month is here again: 30 days, from September 15 to October 15, devoted to celebrating the histories, culture, and traditions of Hispanic- or Latinx-descended US residents. This year, OpenWeb partners are honoring Hispanic Heritage Month by drawing necessary attention to Latino brands, musicians, and leaders, and by exploring crucial issues facing Latino communities. In light of the fact that Latinos are perpetually absent from US newsrooms—despite accounting for more than half of the country’s population growth in the last decade—this work is more important than ever.
Refinery29 Continues to Celebrate A More Inclusive and Intersectional Alternative: Latinx Heritage Month
In the spirit of fostering community and breaking down old, divisive barriers, we use the term “Latinx” at Refinery29. The term, which is still fraught for some, is believed by others to be a more inclusive and intersectional alternative to “Latino,” “Latina,” or “Hispanic.” – Refinery29 Editors
In 2018, Refinery29 launched an initiative called Somos Latinx and Somos Libres: an effort to elevate Latinx stories, leaders, and brands, and to examine some of the most urgent issues facing the Latinx community. Three years later, it’s still going strong: this year, the publisher has introduced readers to 20 Brands To Support During Latinx Heritage Month & Beyond and drawn attention to #ReadLatinxWriters, a grassroots movement trying to increase Latinx representation in TV writers’ rooms. In an effort to further connect with the Latinx community, Refinery29 has also created an r29somos Instagram page, dedicated to Latinx content and building community.
Billboard Celebrates Influential Latino Musicians
The different sounds and styles of regional Mexican music is reflective of Mexico’s rich and diverse culture. Influenced by European sounds such as polka and folk music as a result of the fusion of indigenous, Spanish and African musical elements, today’s regional Mexican music carries the genre’s historical roots melded with contemporary sounds. – Grisela Flores, Senior Writer, Latin, at Billboard
When we think about the birth of rock ‘n roll, a few well-worn images come to mind: Chuck Berry bent over his guitar, Elvis swinging his hips on the Ed Sullivan show. What people often forget is that “Rock en Español” has been thriving for just as long as its US counterpart. Ritchie Valens, one of Chicano rock’s pioneers, remade a Mexican folk song in rock ‘n roll’s image in 1958—the result was the timeless “La Bamba.” If you’re looking to acquaint yourself with Rock en Español’s rich history, make sure to check out “Hispanic Heritage Month: Listen to Rock En Español’s Evolution in 25 Timeless Masterpieces,” a roundup of the most influential Latino rock stars.
Variety Covers The Concerning Lack of Latino Representation In Film
As Hispanic Heritage Month begins for the United States, a new report shines a light on the absence of Hispanic and Latino representation in the film industry. The results reveal that there is little for the Latino community to celebrate in popular films. – Clayton Davis, Variety’s Film Awards Editor
Things might feel like they’re changing—getting more inclusive, more diverse—but that feeling can be deceptive. Recently, Variety—in partnership with Eva Longoria’s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment and Mauricio Mota’s Wise Entertainment—published a study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative: “In New Study on Latinos in Leading Roles and Speaking Parts Offers Little to Celebrate for Hispanic Heritage Month.” Its findings are bleak: for instance, only 7% of films from 2019 featured a lead/co-lead Hispanic/Latino actor, and only 3.5% of leads/co-leads were Hispanic/Latino across the study’s 13-year time frame. But there are reasons to be optimistic: Variety also recently published How Television Networks Are Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in 2021, highlighting new campaigns, sports broadcasts, and live specials honoring Hispanic communities.
These efforts—of recognition, and inclusion—are important. They’re important for the communities in question, and they’re important for the publishers—because you can’t properly serve your audience if you’re ignoring a large segment of it. These three publishers are helping to lead the way towards a more equitable media environment, and we’re proud to help them continue to build their communities.