Two men are fishing for lobsters. After every catch, they both fill up their tanks. The first man notices that the second man is not covering his tank, but he says nothing, assuming the man knows what he is doing. After their tanks are full, they stop the boat and celebrate by drinking some beer. With liquid courage in him, the first man tells the second man that the lobsters will crawl out of the tank if he doesn’t cover it, and so the first man offers the second man an extra lid. The second man says, “Thank you, but don’t worry. My lobsters are all Latinos so whenever one is going up, the others will pull him down.”
This is how Maurício Mota, ‘East Los High’ executive producer and co-president of Wise Entertainment, sees the Latino entertainment market. Originally from Brazil, Mota found a “safe haven” at NALIP, which he describes as neutral territory that brings together the Latino community to create a discourse. Now a member for almost three years and a previous Emerging Content Creators mentor, Mota has seen NALIP members gain a sense of realization about their career paths through NALIP’s panels and workshops.
“Success comes at a very high price. I had a lot of hair during the first season of ‘East Los High’ and now look at me,” he said. “Us as members, panelists or mentors, we’re tools and NALIP is the provider of those tools.” Mota’s hair loss was not for nothing. ‘East Los High’ is Hulu’s longest running drama (four seasons) and the first TV show in U.S history to have an all-latino cast, speaking English.
“People like to call [East Los High] ‘the unicorn,’ but being the unicorn is lonely. The truth is that we should have five more East Los Highs on the air,” he said. To Mota, #WeAreInclusion reflects this need; only through collaboration and inclusion will there be more unicorns representative of unique cultures in the media landscape.
Mota says he is tired of seeing stereotypes and simplistic Latino characters. He believes that society reflects pop culture and if the media is only portraying Latinos as “gang members or maids” it affects the Latino population deeply, demoralizing many to aspire to less. Mota did not create ‘East Los High’ with it being relatable in mind, instead he aimed for a great story with complex characters and being relatable turned out to be a byproduct of that.