Why Diverse Representation In Hollywood Matters
Start writing a post

Why Diverse Representation In Hollywood Matters

'Moana' and 'Rogue One' put people of color in lead roles, and it is being noticed.

Why Diverse Representation In Hollywood Matters
Roy Mendez

Moana and Rogue One were two of the biggest champions of diversity on the big screen during 2016. The casting of people of color in major, lead roles reinforces the need for continued diversity in Hollywood in 2017.

Moana tells the story of a girl that is chosen by the spirit of the sea to save her island and her people from disaster and ruin. Moana is portrayed by Auli’i Cravalho, a native Hawaiian from Kohala. Moana is the first Disney princess to be of Samoan descent and the second to represent an island culture (the first being Lilo & Stitch). Moana avoids the typical cliches that Disney has used for years: Moana has no romantic love interest, and Moana is not a damsel in distress. Though she may falter at times and is often unsure of herself, she knows her destiny and recognizes that it is up to her to listen to the ocean and save the day.

The film brings a culture to theaters that not many people are familiar with through stunning visuals, gorgeous character designs, and beautiful music crafted by Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. Moana has smooth brown skin and full, curly, and luscious black hair directly inspired by the people of her culture from our very world. To feature yet another princess from an island culture appeals to a much larger audience of boys and girls worldwide, and children love to see their heritage and cultures reflected in the media they are exposed to. It makes it much more real for them, and so, it becomes a much more magical experience.

Though my family is Hispanic, my little sister left the theater excitedly jumping up and down with a huge smile on her face because her own tan skin, and thick, curly brown hair reminded her of Moana’s. In the car, she could not stop talking about how she wanted to be heroic just like Moana was some day.

Rogue One follows a band of rag-tag rebels as they devise a plan to steal the plans for the Empire’s sinister new weapon: the Death Star. The film stars Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, but at her right hand is Captain Cassian Andor of the Rebel Alliance, portrayed by Diego Luna. Luna is a Hispanic actor appearing in films like Milk and Elysium, along with Katy Perry’s music video for “The One That Got Away.”

According to Luna, the choice to refrain from hiding his Mexican accent in his portrayal of Cassian was his own, and it resonated with Latino audiences.

In a heartwarming story by a fan on Tumblr, Perla Nation (riveralwaysknew), described how surprised her father was that Cassian spoke with an accent. He asked his daughter if people liked Cassian, to which she happily informed him that he is very much loved by fans and critics alike…

“Representation matters.” People of all cultures, religions, sexualities, etc. deserve to see their lives reflected in the movies they watch. Whether it’s something as simple as a Hispanic pilot, leader, and marksman fighting for peace across the galaxy or a young, soon-to-be queen of a vast island people accepting her call to follow the ocean and save her land, it is something that needs to be made a priority in 2017 by filmmakers and actors alike.

Disney, with both the Star Wars franchise and its animated films, is quickly becoming the warrior for diversity in filmmaking. How long will it be until the other companies follow suit?

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
The 100 Things Millennials have ruined: A Comprehensive List

Millennials: the generation everyone loves to hate. The babies of 1980 to 1995 take a lot of heat. I mean, we inherited a crashed economy, earn stagnant wages, live with crippling student loan debt, and try to enact change in a rigged system but our affinity for avocado toast and use of technology has wrecked society as we know it! As a tail end millennial, I wanted to know what I was ruining and, like any other annoying millennial would, I did some research. I scoured the internet, read online newspapers and scrolled through every listicle I could find. So, in case you needed another reason to resent the millennial in your life, here are the 100 industries we've killed, things we've ruined or concepts we've destroyed.

Keep Reading... Show less

Anxiety Doesn't Discriminate

This month, Odyssey brings about awareness & normality to conversations around mental health from our community.

Anxiety Doesn't Discriminate

It's no secret that even in 2018 our country still struggles with discrimination of all kinds. Society labels individuals by the color of their skin, heritage, religion, sexuality, gender, size, and political beliefs. You are either privileged or you're not. However, here's the thing, anxiety doesn't care about your privilege. Anxiety doesn't discriminate.

Keep Reading... Show less
College Boy Charm is Real and it's Very Sexy

After surviving a year of college and watching "Clueless" countless times, I've come to the conclusion that college boy charm is very much a real thing and it's very very attractive. It's easiest explained through Paul Rudd's character, Josh, in "Clueless". The boy who has a grip on his life and is totally charming. In this article, I will list the qualities of a specimen with College Boy Charm, to help you identify him at your next party or other social events.

Keep Reading... Show less

Tik Tok Stars: Worth the Hype? or Overrated?

As Tik-Tokers rise to fame, do their 'copy-cat' dances deserve the clout?

Tik Tok Stars: Worth the Hype? or Overrated?

Oh, the wonders of social media. Trends come and go just as quick as a story on Instagram, everyone posting for their shot at fifteen minutes of fame, and the ever growing following of a new type of celebrity- social media influencers and content creators. Everyone who owns a smartphone probably has Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and now Tik-Tok, as it's growing to be a major social media platform for teenagers and young adults. Tik Tok became popular in the United States in late 2019 and since then has grown a considerable amount. Personally, I was one to make fun of Tik-Tok and say it was a dumb app like Musical.ly or Triller, and now months later, I spend more time on it than I do on Instagram.

Keep Reading... Show less

Because self confidence is sexy

And as a woman, I want us all to love ourselves a little bit more today.


Women have such high standards to live up to today. We’re expected to do and be so much. The great Tina Fey said “Every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes." This quote is not only hilarious, but also incredibly true! How many of you feel insecure every time you walk on campus, or every time you walk into a party? Even the girls you think are perfect are insecure. Everyone has flaws. Sure some flaws may be more exaggerated than others, but that doesn’t mean that the girl still feels bad about them. My point here is that it doesn’t matter how “perfect” you are, what matters most is how “perfect” you feel.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments