12 Celebrities Who Have Called for More Diversity in Hollywood

The recent batch of Academy Award nominees proved, once again, that Hollywood has a major problem with diversity. The entertainment industry has a long track record of suppressing minorities — on-screen and behind the camera. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Southern California found that less than five percent of actors in top films are Hispanic. It seems obvious: Hollywood clearly needs more actors and filmmakers to stand up and fight for minority representation on screen.

From Viola Davis to Gina Rodriguez, these celebrities have all spoken out about the need for diversity on screen:

 MORE: 10 TV shows with the most diverse casts!

1. Gabrielle Union

Beauty of the sea. Victoria Justice swears she was a mermaid in her past life.

2. Gina Rodriguez

Gina Rodriguez, who won the Golden Globe for her turn on Jane The Virgin, has never been afraid to express her desire to more complex, realistic Latina roles. "I want to play roles that I see more in my reality," she said. "My sister is a successful investment banker; my other sister is a doctor. I want to see those roles. I want to see Latinas play roles that are empowering, that are strong, that are breaking the norm!" 

3. Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria recently addressed the real meaning of diversity. "Diversity means more than black people on television," she said"We've seen an amazing increase in black writers and other talent." The producer, director and actress went on to say that she shouldn't be pigeonhold as "The Hispanic producer." 

"A lot of the shows we develop happen to have interesting characters, a lot of female characters," she said of her productions company. " And about half of those are organically Hispanic characters."

 

4. Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain may not be a victim of racism or xenophobia, but she certainly understands the problems it poses for minority actors in the business. In her acceptace speech for the MVP Award at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, she spoke out in favor of enhanced minority representation on screen. 

"Today is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, so it has me thinking about the need to build the strength of diversity in our industry, and to stand together against homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic and racist agendas," she said. "I'm an optimist, and I can't help but feel hopeful about the future of film, especially looking at all of the beautiful people in this room. Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.' And I would like to encourage everyone in this room to please speak up." 

5. Nicholas Gonzalez

Nicholas Gonzalez, who co-starred alongside Nicole Beharie on Sleepy Hollowsaid that Hollywood still has a long way to go when it comes to respectful minority representation on screen. "You can ask any Latin actor," he said. "Inevitably, if they get a part meant for a white guy, producers will change the character's name to sound more Latin. I'm still not comfortable with the fact that I might be asked to throw in some words in Spanish, or add a turn of phrase that doesn't seem authentic. I want to be a storyteller not only of the Latin experience, but of people who want to be inspired."

6. Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno will go down in history as one of the first successful Latina actress. The performer, who has won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony, believes that Hollywood has come a long way since she began working. However, she acknowledges that much work still needs to be done.

"I think we can still do better," she told us. "It's a question of time, I guess. But, at least you see Latinos! That's terribly important, because that's the real world. So often these television shows and movies show a world that really doesn't exist! And, you know, it's gotten a lot better. Now, you will see scenes where the extras that are black, Hispanic and Asian."

7. Lisa Vidal

Lisa Vidal, who stars in Being Mary Jane alongside Gabrielle Union, wants to see more complex Latina characters on screen. "I expect my Latino media to pay attention to [Being Mary Jane], to pay attention to me, on the show, representing in so many ways this flawed character yet she's a proud Latina," she told us. "She's a strong, ambitious, intelligent woman, but she just happens to be Latina. She could be any color, and I think that's important, when Latinos can be any color on a show and it's non-descript in the sense of 'this is a person in the functioning world.' Then we've made it."

8. Viola Davis

How To Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis addressed the issue of diversity during an emotional acceptance speech at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. "When I tell my daughter stories at night, inevitably, a few things happen," she said. "Number one, I use my imagination. I always start with life, and then I build from there. And then the other thing that happens is she always says, 'Mommy, can you put me in the story?' And you know, it starts from the top up."

The actress continued, "So I'd like to thank Paul Lee, Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Bill D'Elia and Peter Norwalk for thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old dark-skinned African-American woman who looks like me."

9. Stephanie Beatriz

In her blog On My RadarStephanie Beatriz revealed that she initially believed she wouldn't land a role in Brooklyn Nine-Nine because they had already cast another Latina actress — Melissa Fumero. "There's no way in hell a major network is gonna cast two Latina actresses," she thought. Showrunners proved her wrong. 

"The world is changing," she told us. "Slowly, but surely, television is changing. The character stereotypes are changing, or being turned inside out by some fantastic writers and actors. People of color are on TV playing roles that are fleshed out, complex, human. And yes, some of those characters are maids. Some are sexy heartbreakers there to steal your man. Some own BBQ joints, while some are Chiefs of Staff. Some are prisoners, and some are cops. All are real people with hopes, dreams, ambitions, fears, and all the other vast human emotions and desires."

10. Michelle Rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez spoke about the responsibility of Latina actresses to accurately, honestly, and respectfully portray their culture on-screen. "...If you're Spanish, you feel a weight. I don't have much history — I've got Rosie PerezJennifer LopezRita MorenoThat's it," she said. "That's the history of Latin women in Hollywood, really. I'm like, 'Well, damn, that means that I have to carry a flag.' I don't have the freedom to do just anything, because I have my last name and my heritage."

11. Selenis Leyva

Although Selenis Leyva stars on a show with six other Latina stars, she still sees opportunity for growth in Hollywood. The Orange Is The New Black star spoke openly about the responsibility of working Latina actress to push forward for future generations. "We are still not in the clear. We have to continue to push the door," she said. "The fact that that it is such a big deal that there are six Latina’s on a hit show is an indicator that we still have so much more work to do. It shows that there is a lack of us in mainstream media and Hollywood."

12. Jane Fonda

Proud feminist Jane Fonda has often spoken about the need for female faces on screen and behind the cameras. "We all know what we have to do," she said. "We have to not be quiet about it, we have to keep talking about it, we have to shame the studios for being so gender-biased. Media is the face that the United States gives to the world. And if the women's part of our country isn't part of that face, then they're not getting the whole picture."

"We have to fight real hard to get women in positions of power and remember there are no set rules," she continued. "We have to show that women who makes movies make money. We have to prove that we can be commercial."