Celebrating Hispanics in TV with The Paley Center
6:15pm and I finally hit ‘Send’ on my last email of the night. My tablemate Alesy and I quickly changed into fancier attire to meet up with a group of McCanners all dressed to the nines. In classic New York style, we all packed onto the 4 Train and headed to Wall Street. Immediately walking into the venue, we all knew it was going to be an amazing night. For the first time, The Paley Center for Media was hosting a tribute to Hispanics Achievements in Television.
After celebrity-watching on the red carpet and playing with the cool Verizon charging stations on each cocktail table, we took to our seats. The night started off with a warm welcome from Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio. “It’s really hard to believe that this type of tribute has never happened until tonight,” she said. "I don’t know what took so long, but the important thing is that... [the] Paley Center is stepping up big time and paying respect to a community that has been changing the television art for decades.”
Other notable guests and presenters included America Ferrera, Don Francisco, George Lopez, Lana Parilla, Edward James Olmos and Jimmy Smits. Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, also took the stage in a special moment honoring her father’s legendary career on television.
The program highlighted the significant achievements of Hispanics in television over time – we’re seeing more and more Hispanics on the small screen in dynamic roles. The Paley archive's impact honors the Latinos who pushed to create roles for Hispanic actors outside the common stereotypes such as bodega owners, drug dealers and maids. Young actors like Jackie Cruz and Laura Gomez, both of Orange Is The New Black, acknowledged the importance of Hispanics being fairly represented in media. “It is important to see and important to change the light cast on us," Gómez said. "And events like this change the cliché of Latino characters on TV."
I was also pleasantly reminded that Hispanics in TV do not only account for telenovelas, movies and sitcoms, but also news stations, sports and music. As Karl-Anthony Towns, NBA 2016 Rookie of the Year, took the stage, it was amazing to feel his pride and understand the range in which Hispanics are impacting culture.
The Paley Center finally showed a short reel of its newly compiled archive of Hispanic television programming, radio broadcasts and filmography. It is the largest publicly accessible Hispanic media archive ever compiled. After watching this truly impressive collection, I felt a deeper appreciation for the Paley Center for making this material available to fans and researchers for years to come.
You did not have to be Hispanic to feel the great sense of pride, culture and achievement that filled the room. The hope is to continue to respect and embrace the growing diversity in TV and everyday society. As culture is reflected in media and media impacts culture, we as advertisers are in an incredible position to impact positive change.
Congratulations, and thank you to the Paley Center for a wonderful night.