Media influencers and icons came together for The Paley Center for Media’s Tribute to Hispanics in Television on Monday.
The star-studded affair celebrated the achievements of Hispanics in media over seven decades. The significance of such an event ― especially in a day and age in which people of color remain severely underrepresented in Hollywood ― was not lost on the night’s first presenter, Eva Longoria.
“The Paley Center understands that what we do in this room matters,” she said during her opening remarks. “And whose stories get told matters. And who gets to tell them matters. Media and television shape what we see of ourselves and how others define us.”
The Mexican-American actress and director illustrated her point using the current political climate in the U.S. as an example, noting that “some people [are] choosing to define us in a way that we are not.”
Longoria went on to say that while there remains “a long way to go in today’s television landscape, Hispanics are front and center in virtually every area” of media ― and have been for many decades. She then gave shoutouts to media makers ― past and present ― such as Jorge Ramos, Guillermo del Toro, and “I Dream of Jeannie” director Claudio Guzmán, to name a few. She also lauded athletes, comedians and musicians for the work they do.
Before wrapping her speech, Longoria shared an anecdote from her time directing an episode of “Jane the Virgin.”
“This particular episode, we had Gloria Estefan, Emilio Estefan, Judy Reyes, Diane Guerrero,” she recalled. “And I was on stage and I was like, ‘Gina, I think there’s more Latinos than white people on this set, and we’re not doing craft services.’ It was a proud moment, let me tell you, looking around and seeing all of these amazing Latinos telling the story.”
No doubt! Here’s hoping she and other people of color in media have many similar experiences for decades to come.
Check out the rest of Eva Longoria’s moving speech above.
Video courtesy of The Paley Center for Media.