Who is Alex Nogales and the NHMC?

alex_nogales_keu_reyes_imageA lot of people in the general mainstream may not know the name Alex Nogales – yet, if you’re a Latino working in Hollywood – you’ve at least heard his name. Alex Nogales’ organization is the National Hispanic Media Coalition, which is a media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, working towards a media that is fair and inclusive of Latinos, and towards universal, affordable, and open access to communications. <<- that’s straight from their website.

I’ll break it down for you in layman’s terms: They make sure Latinos are being portrayed the right way in television.  They do this by making sure that Latinos get jobs within the industry so that we can influence programming.

Actually, my first professional encounter after I moved to Los Angeles was provided courtesy of the NHMC. I was selected to be part of a program that the organization put together sponsored by NBC and ABC at the time. They flew about eight new, aspiring writers out to New Mexico for 6 weeks – there, we developed pilots in both comedy, drama and in between. Many of my fellow writers from that program (which is still ongoing, by the way, check the NHMC website for details) have gone on to write professionally for TV shows.

nhmc_national_hispanic_mediaI have a lot of appreciation for the NHMC because when I first began trying to break doors down in search for opportunities in the industry, they were a big helping hand. At first, I had no clue that there were organizations dedicated to helping Latinos in the industry. In fact, I didn’t even know that sort of ‘protection’ and ‘advocacy’ was necessary — until now.

Back to the original question of who is Alex Nogales? Alex is like my media industry father – I like to jokingly call him ‘The King of Latinos’ – and in a round about way – right now he sort of is. We don’t have a lot of representation within these big monopoly TV networks, and at the same time we can also safely assume that a lot of negative stereotypes can be born on unchecked TV and media. Alex Nogales is the checker. He’s the whistleblower – unafraid to go into a big corporate entity in the likes of NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS or whatever – and tell them straight out to their face: ‘cut the crap!’ AND – if they chose not to listen – he’ll later tell them in a court of law. Bottomline, that takes some big cojones!!

Have I been in trouble with Alex Nogales before? Yes. Actually, I have many stories of ‘questionable things’ for which I was reprimanded by Alex during my writer’s program participation (good thing he hasn’t seen my TV shows or I’d be paying the FCC up the yin-yang). Do I agree blindly with every single issue the NHMC engages in? No, I don’t. I disagree at times with some of the battles and/or the way they’re handled – BUT – thanks to Alex Nogales and the NHMC, you can count that when you see something offensive about Latinos on TV there’s a man and an organization that will go beyond the outrage and actually take some sort of action on your behalf – and that’s pretty cool to have for FREE – (or a small donation if you’re feeling generous).

Follow the @nhmc on Twitter

and me on Facebook and Twitter

UPDATE:

mediacon_nhmcMost recently I attended the NHMC MediaCon which took place at the Universal City Hilton. I enjoyed the guest speakers, great panels and all the other good things that come from an event of this nature. One hot button issue that was discussed was the whole Donald Trump debacle – and this is the sort of place where these discussions grow into an elaborate action plans.

 

Bordertown Writer Lalo Alcaraz Interview

lalo alacaraz bordertown

Award-winning cartoonist and writer Lalo Alcaraz talks about being a writer for FOX’s new show Bordertown. The show has caused controversy because of its ‘racially-challenged’ feeling (read about it here).

Watch the interview here, or download the audio podcast below.

Lalo Alcaraz Should Have His Own Show [AUDIO]

The FOX network tries to make it seem as if the show “Bordertown” is really Lalo Alcaraz’ show. That’s false. Bordertown was created by Mark Hentemann and it’s under Seth MacFarlane’s umbrella. However, Lalo SHOULD have his own show, without anyone ‘babysitting’ his content. I hope my wish comes true one day sooner than later.

Lalo may even be already in the works according to this tweet:

lalo alcaraz tweet

Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Listen to the podcast below and make sure you subscribe in iTunes.

Seth MacFarlane’s Bordertown…

seth_bordertown_mark_fox

bordertown is racistIs Bordertown Racist? Excuse my Spanish, but… What the f*** does Seth MacFarlane know about living at the border? What the f*** does Mark Hentemann know about being Mexican? If you don’t know, these are the executive producers of the Fox animated series “Bordertown.” Two White guys, that even White guys think they’re “too White”.

In this entertainment industry not too many people know the truth, let alone tell it. I used to not speak up because I was afraid how it could affect me one day.  I’m done!  F*** it!!! They can’t keep manipulating the growing majority of the population with sub-par attempts at ridicule disguising it under the “it’s funny” umbrella of stereotypical stupidity.

Why did Fox think that the Whitest guy they know can produce a show that features a Mexican family living at the border? Well, it’s the same Fox that thought that Seth MacFarlane could also produce the “The Cleveland Show”, which featured a Black family living in Virginia. <<- You can read all about my beef with that show here as well.

Look, I really like Family Guy. It’s one of my favorite shows. But I don’t like it because it’s a “White” show… instead, I love it because it’s an “anti-establishment” show. Family Guy is about a White family living the way they want to live, and it’s usually wrong — and that’s hilarious! But that show is funny because it has something “real” to the concept. It lives within certain parameters of truth. Real stereotypes are funny. I’m all for ridiculing stereotypes in order to show how dumb they really are at times.

But an issue I have with a show like this Bordertown, is that they’ve engaged real, talented Latinos to be a part of it, in order to give “validity” to their degenerate proposition of entertainment. Talented, gifted Latinos in the likes of Lalo Alcaraz (click here to listen to my interview with Lalo), Gustavo Arellano and Valentina Garza fall into the ONLY opportunity out there to reach the mainstream. Unfortunately, this Bordertown show is NOT THEIR SHOW! Their power is limited and their creative prowess is stumped by the real players behind the curtain – MacFarlane and Hentemann.

But what did you expect? It’s not Lalo, Gustavo or Valentina’s fault. They have no choice! Fox would never give them their own show. There’s not a network out there brave, or willing, enough to give real Latinos a platform to reach millions and millions of viewers – all on their own. That would never happen!! They always need that ‘all-powerful White image’ to supervise what they’re doing, and with good reason — because imagine the political implications of real issues being brought to light through comedy and entertainment??? Hmmm… Elections are won or lost through these platforms. Real Latinos have no place in creating the real content, or so think the big Networks. Instead, they’re given “associate producer” or “consulting producer” or “bullshit-taker” positions in order to appease all the real Latinos that will be offended by this garbage being put out.

LATINOS: “This is a racist show!”

NETWORK: “This can’t be a racist show, because Lalo Alcaraz is a part of it!”

I see right through all the smoke and mirrors and I hope smart Latinos will, too. In fact, I hope this Bordertown show is funny and successful and goes on for many seasons so that at least Lalo, Gustavo and Valentina can get paid! <–That’s about all the good I see coming out of this Bordertown project.

My point? This show is garbage. I’ve actually have read the scripts for the show, and trust me, it’s worse than what it looks like.

Funny, how the show its supposed to be funny, but the real joke is on the audience.

I had a chance to interview Lalo Alcaraz, click here for the interview. I’m out.

I leave you the trailer here in case you enjoy their attempt…

The Top Rated Prime-Time TV Shows are Animated

seth_macfarlane_money
Seth MacFarlane – Creator of Family Guy and American Dad taking his ratings all the way to the bank.

4 out of the top 10-rated shows were animation <– That’s what I wrote last Monday.  This week is no different, except the top-rated show on a Sunday prime-time slot is Family Guy – which in case you don’t know, its an animated comedy for adults.

Is this all a big Coincidence? Or do people actually like funny animated shows? Well, numbers don’t lie. Hopefully other networks, especially Spanish-language, get hip to this trend that has been trending for years.  Just ask The Simpsons – they’ve been on the air for 25 years and still killing on the ratings!

Maybe they think it’s just a phase, just like hip hop and rap music…

(See ratings below…)

04.29.13
Preliminary National Ratings
Show (Network) Rating(18-49) / Share Viewers(Millions)

  1.  Family Guy (Fox) 2.5/7 4.9
  2.  The Amazing Race (CBS) 2.3/6 9.1
  3.  Once Upon a Time (ABC) 2.0/5 7.0
  4.  The Simpsons (Fox) 2.0/6 4.5
  5.  American Dad (Fox) 1.9/5 4.0
  6.  Bob’s Burgers (Fox) 1.7/5 3.5
  7.  Revenge (ABC) 1.7/4 5.9
  8.  60 Minutes (CBS) 1.5/5 11.6
  9.  America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) 1.5/5 6.4
  10.  The Mentalist (CBS) 1.5/4 8.7

Data provided by Nielsen

Animated Racism – Double Standards in Television Networks

cleveland showWho’s allowed to make fun of you? That’s what it comes down to in television political correctness. This post isn’t to debate the rights and wrongs of racism, but instead I’d like to point out the double-standards of the acceptability of racism in television. I personally think that the right amount of racism at the right time could be quite funny. Sometimes we need to laugh at ourselves in order to realize that maybe we could improve our behavior.

But who’s allowed to make fun of an individual or group of people? Could a White person make fun of a Black or Latino person – without repercussions?  Well, it already happens all the time in Family Guy and South Park. On the other side of the coin, could a Latino or Black person make fun of Asians? or Middle Easterners? or White People? Yes, of course, but you only see that in comedy clubs and random clips online. Which brings me to my point… Everyone makes fun of everyone, BUT, Whites have a bigger stage to poke fun at other races, while in contrast, the rest of us have a limited reach.

The most popular animated shows on FOX are all predominantly written by Whites. Once in a while (if not more often) you’ll see a racist joke here and there, and I don’t see a problem with that. I actually find some of it funny; BUT, my issue is that other races lack the opportunity to have that huge FOX stage to do the same thing in return.

For example, Seth MacFarlane is given the opportunity to have Family Guy on the air – and I loved what that show has done for adult comedy animation. It basically took the Simpsons and made it seem like a Nickelodeon kid’s show. Yet, when it’s time to replicate the success of Family Guy, one of the other shows that Seth MacFarlane develops is The Cleveland Show. Why!?

Out of so many great characters ready for a spin-off from Family Guy, they choose the Black caricature?  Were they trying to attract a Black audience? If so, it didn’t work. I don’t know many of my Black friends that watch The Cleveland Show. Still, the show is so similar to Family Guy that I have never even found my own interest or taken the time to actually watch it.

richardappel_mikehenry_sethmacfarlaneYet… what I’m getting at is that they have the White showrunners – Seth MacFarlane, Mike Henry and Richard Appel – developing a Black caricature. To me this is the equivalent of Blackface in cartoon form. They make a Black character for White people to laugh at. Is this okay? Nobody seems to care, mainly because “it’s only a cartoon”.

What if the same thing happened in real life, and there were White guys with their faces painted Black on prime-time TV? Would it be okay then? What’s the difference right now? Cleveland’s face is painted black, isn’t it? He’s created and portrayed by White guys, isn’t he?cleveland black stereotype

Well, I’m not one for censorship. If people want to be racist, I rather they’d be racist to my face than behind my back. What I don’t stand for is the inequality of opportunity to have “all-inclusive” racism in television. Is it possible for a Black or Latino have the same stage and do the same thing? FOX doesn’t seem to think so. If there’s going to be a Latino animated show, they will probably have Seth MacFarlane be the showrunner, and they’ll just tell him “You do it, Seth. You’ve met Latinos before. Do a show about them, too.”

The other half of the problem is that the smaller Black and Latino TV networks are so busy trying to mimic the larger White networks that they would never create something as original as Family Guy.  A lot of these smaller TV networks that supposedly target Blacks or Latinos operate out of pure pandering, and are usually ran by White executives that don’t understand the culture they’re targeting. Overall, there’s a lack of real vision and risk-taking in the part of these outlets, which in turn affects all of us minorities, since our voices are hampered and smothered by gutless, bland, and unoriginal programming. It saddens me to see great potential distribution become a waste of broadcast time.

Back to my initial question, who’s allowed to make fun of you? The answer: It’s up to you. We all have our own tolerance gage. Yet, I believe in fighting fire with fire. I don’t want to shut down The Cleveland Show for being racist. I rather create something that will equally compete and let the viewers decide how much of it they want. That’s how my new animated show “Counterfit” came to be. Counterfit is a show about a guy with nothing to lose, and fixing injustices his way. 

new_counter_aloneMost people that have been discriminated in their lives find Counterfit hilarious. Why? Because they understand why he acts the way he acts. On the other hand, there are some people who find Counterfit uncomfortable to watch – and this is something I like. When Alfonso Amey and I were throwing this idea around, we knew that it would have an impact – not necessarily all positive – but an impact, nonetheless.

Because the reality is, why is it okay for Family Guy and other White animations to portray Latinos and Blacks in a stereotypical fashion, but when it’s time to reverse the roles and portray Whites in a weaker position, it immediately becomes “uncomfortable”?

If we can watch a Black man get relentlessly beaten by cops for 5 minutes on the six o’clock news in real life, then we should be able to watch the same thing reversed in a fictional cartoon.

Check out  Counterfit “The Neighborhood Dude” and you be the judge… I just hope he gets the same fair judgement The Cleveland Show gets.