In a year of increased LGBTQ+ representation in both television and film, mainstream festivals and live events across the country have quickly realized that inclusion for our community needs to follow suit and be given prominence in such arenas also, not just on screen.
“Queer Latinx Dominating Mainstream Entertainment,” a panel held at the 10th anniversary of Hispanicize, arguably the largest annual event for Latinx trendsetters, focused on content creators and newsmakers. The event brings together the movers, shakers and leaders of the Latinx community.
In its past nine years, this is actually the second time in which a dedicated panel focusing on LGBTQ representation is part of the event schedule. “Pose” actor Johnny Sibilly sat on a Hispanicize panel last year in Miami and it was not LGBTQ focused. This year, Sibilly joins fellow panelists on the LGBTQ+ panel -Singer/Songwriter/Actor, Laith Ashley, and Vida Television Star, Mishel Prada, who portrays a queer woman on the hit STARZ show, and is one of our fiercest allies off screen.
“We understand that all facets of our community need to be represented at live events and that includes our amazing and never wavering female allies,” added Roman Navarrette who along with co-producer Jose Resendez is creating the panel session which will take place onsite on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 4 p.m. at the DTLA Intercontinental Hotel.
Resendez, a gay Latino with an extensive background in brand marketing will do double duty this year as he is not only co-producing the panel but also the event’s marquee event – the Tecla Awards. “I’ve been a part of the Hispanicize family for over half a decade and I truly believe this is the place to shift perception and move the needle for Hispanics in the social media space.
Navarrette, who cut his teeth at the Fox network in marketing and then shifted to working on multicultural and targeted marketing for Fox Entertainment Group as part of the Fox Audience Strategy division, is now a marketing consultant leaning into the LGBTQ+ and Latinx spaces, working with companies like Live Nation Latin, FX and most recently, Pasadena Playhouse’s Little Shop of Horrors starring Mj Rodriguez of FX’s “Pose” fame.
“It’s important to highlight diverse images within our LGBTQ+ community. There are layers and layers in our community and we need to emphasize Latinx and people of color stories in order to continue to make progress and impact pop culture for our youth as well. Positive portrayals with intricate characteristics help everyone at the end of the day,” added Navarrette.
And while representation for the community has been popping up more and more at SoCal industry events, (Vida’s Ser Anzoategui recently took part in panels at both The National Association of Latino Independent Producers in LA and Latitude, in San Diego) this is the first time a panel produced by LGBTQ+ community members solely, is taking center stage. Added features this year include the addition of LGBTQ+ community organization members being invited to attend at no cost to them.
“We wanted to make sure that the audience included members of the entire Latinx LGBTQ+ community and especially those on the ground in the trenches working with the community providing services and healthcare as well as HIV testing and counseling,” added Navarrette. “It’s not always about Hollywood.”
The two-day Hispanicize 2019 conference kicks off on Friday, Oct. 18, with a keynote from critically acclaimed John Leguizamo whose NGL Collective newly acquired Hispanicize earlier this year. Nearly 2,000 attendees are expected to visit this year’s conference and be treated to various panels and activations featuring celebrities and influencers such as Rosie Perez, CNCO, the cast of Netflix’s On My Block, Stephanie Beatriz, Mexican Gueys, BuzzFeed’s Curly Velasquez, Jenny Lorenzo, Danay Garcia, LGND, and Prada’s Vida Costar, Melissa Barrera.
In addition, one of the coveted Pepsi music lounge performances and Q&A sessions will feature gay Latino, Willie Gomez, former Britney Spears dancer and new emerging artist. Besides Pepsi other brands participating in the two-day event include Facebook watch, HBO Latino, Walmart, Colgate, Pluto TV, Nickelodeon, Unilever, Ciroc, Dove, Clorox, Voto Latino, Caress, Jim Beam, and McDonalds.
To purchase a pass for Hispanicize’s 10th Anniversary go to https://hispanicizeevent.com/la2019/ and support the LGBTQ+ Panel.