Jeff Valdez: An Open Letter To Chris Rock and Reggie Hudlin

From Latin Heat Entertainment:

LatinHeat Entertainment

Jeff Valdez
Serial Entrepreneur, Keynote Speaker, President VPI

First of all, congratulations for your work last night. It took a lot of courage to voice your thoughts about Hollywood. Until people become conscious about an issue, it’s difficult for them to create real change within themselves. Again, thank you. I believe when the mouth is open with laughter, that’s the best time to insert food for thought. You served up a buffet of “food for thought,” however, I would ask you both to consider whether you served DIVERSE delicacies or the same course over and over again.

Merriam –Webster defines “diversity,” as follows; “The state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization.” Case in point, we have to be careful that diversity isn’t viewed as only a black and white issue.

Chris, in your own words from a 2014 Hollywood Reporter interview you said:

 “But forget whether Hollywood is black enough. A better question is: Is Hollywood Mexican enough? You’re in L.A, you’ve got to try not to hire Mexicans.”

In case your GPS’ were broken guys, the Dolby Theater, is in L.A. and it  looked like you tried not to hire Latinos. There were actually more animated characters in the show, than Latinos and Asians. Chris, I kind of felt like you were telling us, “We like you, Juan, but you’re not an Omega Psi Phi.”

Reggie, I even tried to take preventative measures to avoid the exclusion of Latinos in the Oscars this year. In early December, I e-mailed you 23 pages with every possible data point you would ever need about Latinos. In my e-mail, I said, “I really hope and pray that you and the team there can empower our community, which is very much part of the fabric of our country.” Reggie, you responded by saying, “There will be Latinos on the Oscars of course!” We proudly stand with what you did last night, but where was the diversity as defined by Merriam-Webster?

Guys, you should have watched John Oliver’s, “How Is This Still A Thing- Hollywood Whitewashing,” segment online before writing the Oscars. It was really funny and on point about Hollywood’s true lack of diversity with all cultures. Had you seen that segment, you probably would have avoided marching out four American kids that happened to be Asian and then joke about how they are accountants and make cell phones. Really guys, that’s the best material you could come up with?

You guys had several Native American members from the cast of  The Revenant, in the audience, you could have let them introduce an award, or would it have been too awkward as they were in tuxedos and not wearing war paint? Jesus Christ, if anybody deserves to be on a stage as a presenter, one would think a Native American actor in anOscar winning film would have qualified.

Chris, your very poignant line, “We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer”, was quite clever and powerful. We can relate to the pain of a horrible moment in time, as today we have Presidential candidates falsely accusing Latinos of being rapists and criminals and wanting to deport 11 million people, and we do care about best cinematography, as last night,history was made, when Emmanuel Lubezki, a Latino, won “Best Cinematography,” for the third year in a row.

But nary a peep about Lubezki, nor an acknowledgment about how Alejandro González Iñárritu, as “Best Director,” is the third person in Oscar history, to win two years in a row. When you add Alfonso Cuarón, Latinos again made history by winning “Best Director,” three years in a row! One would think that there must be something in the water Latinos are drinking and that Hollywood should be hiring Latino directors left and right, based on their dominance on this area. Sadly, Latino directors especially those born in the U.S, are almost invisible in the Hollywood employment ranks, even at a time when U.S. Latinos buy 25% of all movie tickets and are currently 50.6% of the coveted 18-34 demos in LosAngeles.



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