In defense of LaTina Fey, it’s hard to name 20 Latino performers in 60 seconds

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Tina Fey was a guest on Billy on the Street, and she got the hardest question ever in the history of game show television: she was asked to name 20 Latino performers in 60 seconds.


Fey—nicknamed LaTina Fey for the segment—failed, naming only 12 performers before time was up as she frantically clutched a fake Oscar. Three of those came with assists from host Billy Eichner. Two of them were named Freddie Prinze.

To be fair, Fey did come up with some surprising names, including Daphne Rubin-Vega, the Panamanian-American actress who originated the role of Mimi Marquez in the Broadway musical Rent, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the actor, composer, and 2015 MacArthur genius behind the musicals In the Heights and Hamilton.


And the thing is, it would be hard for anyone who came up in the TV business, as Fey did, to name 20 working Latinos in Hollywood, where the vast majority of scripted roles go to white actors.

Latinos made up about 17% of the U.S. population in 2013. But that same year Latinos were the most underrepresented among actors of color on television by a factor of more than 8 to 1, according to the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, which tracks diversity on television.

White actors claimed 81% of the 700 roles in broadcast scripted programming reviewed by the Bunche Center during the 2012-13 season.

It’s not great behind the camera either. In its latest 2013-2014 report, the National Hispanic Media Coalition reported the four largest broadcast television companies were mediocre when it came to diversity hiring practices.


Here's one Latino actor's name you should know: Emilio Fernandez, the Mexican actor after whom the Oscar statue is modeled.

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