Why is there no Latino version of Tyler Perry?
Who doesn't know Tyler Perry's movies? From his first one, Diary of a Mad Black Woman to the infamous Madea series, Perry has revolutionized the industry by making blockbuster hits out of films that center mostly on the black community. And though he experienced a major setback when a large fire broke out in his studios earlier this week, Perry definitely isn't lacking in support from his huge fan base -- as evidenced by all the well-wishing comments left on his website.
But while I'm glad that Perry is getting the kindness and help he deserves after the unfortunate incident, all the activity got me questioning --who is the Latino version of Tyler Perry? Does someone like that even exist? And then the shocking realization: the answer is no!
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After years of Perry movies filling the big screen, I've grown so accustomed to them that I stopped giving them second thought. But after the unfortunate fire got me thinking, I couldn't believe I had never realized it before. There is no well-known Latino personality/producer/filmmaker extraordinaire creating big budget, mainstream films about the Latin community. In fact, there are basically no huge, widely-released movies featuring mostly Hispanic characters --made by anyone, Latino or not.
Now, the question is why? After all, Hollywood has plenty of big-name Latin actors and there are certainly culturally relevant stories that are worth making into films. I mean, my abuela would make a character just as hysterical as Madea!
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So what's the problem? Most likely, it's a matter of demand. If a large portion of society isn't demanding to see these films, they won't get made…which means that even if there is a Spanish Tyler Perry out there somewhere, his efforts could be getting squashed by the huge movie making companies that are all just looking to make some big money.
The realization is disappointing, but enlightening. It reminds me of the importance of always actively showing up and voicing support for projects, movies or otherwise, that help boost and showcase the Latin community. Without the right backing, who knows what brilliant movies, plays, or cultural phenomenon we'll miss out on?
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