Representation on-screen is vital. Any Latina who has ever wondered when Disney would make good time and finally give us a movie starring a brown princess can understand why this is. Mostly because when you spend your childhood not seeing yourself on screen (whether it’s as a Disney princess, a superhero or simply as a successful member of society), it can impact how you see yourself.
While award seasons often prove that the industry is still grossly lagging behind when it comes to inclusivity, as an audience, it’s crucial that we understand the power we yield over how and when we are portrayed.
In a recent tweet, One Day At A Time‘s showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett highlighted the influence audiences have over the fate of our representation on screen.
HUGE favor: If you want to support me & the show then PLEASE watch & tell friends & family to watch at least FOUR episodes in the next few days. Netflix decides what gets picked up based on views. I love this show & love writing this relatable family. PLEASE WATCH! Thank you.
— Gloria Calderón Kellett (@everythingloria) February 13, 2018
In a series of tweets, Calderón Kellett asked fans to get their friends and families to tune in to the show so that Netflix would greenlight it for another season. Calderón Kellett’s name is also attached to the CW hit Jane The Virgin, which also centers on a Latino family and features a Latina lead.
Calderón Kellett’s tweet is a reminder of some basic math we already know.
Momma Ain't Too Proud To Beg. I LOVE this family on screen & off. Representation matters @MikeRoyce & I have a lot of stories left to tell! 'One Day At A Time" Co-Creator Begs Fans To Watch "Four Episodes In The Next Few Days" https://t.co/z7lgBwpnBT Thanx @decider @OneDayAtATime
— Gloria Calderón Kellett (@everythingloria) February 14, 2018
When a show gets more attention (i.e. produces a lot of money), studios are quick to do what they can to recreate the formula that gave them a hit in the first place. Series and movie franchises like Grey’s Anatomy, “Fast & Furious,” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” are proof of that.
Watch four episodes of your favorite show or go to the theater to see a movie you love, and you improve the odds of another season or a similar movie appearing. Get your posse, tías, parents and others to do the same? The chances climb even higher. Turning up for shows like One Day At A Time shows studios that there is a demand for POC representation on-screen and that there is massive revenue to be earned by investing in shows and movies that meet that call.
It’s a reality reflected in the box office success of the Disney/ Marvel film “Black Panther.”
Well before its release, the film secured the highest pre-sale record of any movie outside of the three most-recent Star Wars flicks. And while a sequel has yet to be formally announced, the film’s creators haven’t shied away from talking about the plans they have in store for follow-up projects. Without the financial enthusiasm for the movie, there’s no doubt that a film as culturally significant as “Black Panther” would get another shot with Marvel. The success of the film, so far, sends studios the message that audiences want more stories and casts like “Black Panther.”
When studios throw money at Latinx and other POC shows and films, we have to fight for them.
CREDIT: “One Day At A Time” / Netflix
Fighting for ourselves is the only way we can ensure that POC characters are depicted more and that our incredibly diverse stories are told. I mean, if after all these years we’re still waiting for Disney to come through for us with a princess movie, by now we should know the studios won’t be fighting to do it for us on their own.
So, at the very least, click that “One Day At A Time” play button on Netflix, and let it run while you go buy your ticket for “Black Panther.”