We don't just want greater diversity in film and TV, we're clamoring for it. And the network behind the successful and racially diverse show "Power" is bringing two Latina-centric shows to its lineup.
On Monday (August 1), Starz announced it is developing "The Dirty Girls Social Club," based on Alicia Valdes' best-selling novel, and "Teresa" adapted from a Mexican telenovela of the same name.
"The Dirty Girls Social Club" follows six college-educated Latina women as they balance their romantic and professional lives. The Latinas in the book are a racially diverse bunch ranging from an Afro-Latina to a blonde Cuban Jewish woman – not the typical Latinas we see in TV and film. Hopefully the casting is authentic to the book, and considering Valdes' relentless fight to keep any adaptation of her book free of stereotypes, I'm optimistic that it will be.
Getting her work onscreen has been an uphill battle. Despite having numerous opportunities to make her New York Times bestseller into a film or TV show, Valdes has turned down multiple studios due to the insistence by executives that the characters lead more stereotypical lives.
They had asked her to have the characters date men in prison, "because that's what your people do." She was also asked to omit the Black Latina character, since the American audience wouldn't be able to comprehend a Latina character who is also (gasp) Black.
At one point she even started a Kickstarter campaign to produce the project herself. In the campaign, she showed what she dealt with when meeting with execs and it's seriously cringe-worthy.
Fortunately, Valdes stuck to her guns and it seems she finally got her way. "I cannot think of a better home for this project than Starz. I am thrilled to be working with so many visionary, brilliant and creative people,” said Valdes. “The team the network put together is truly phenomenal. For me, this is a dream come true and I am so thankful to everyone who worked to make this deal reality. I can't wait to see my characters come to life onscreen."
Joining "The Dirty Girls Social Club" is "Teresa," a joint collaboration between Starz, Lionsgate, and Televisa USA. "Teresa" follows a young undocumented Latina living in Los Angeles who seeks money and power by any means necessary. The description alone leaves room for a lot of stereotypes, but hopefully with "East Los High's" Carlos Portugal at the helms, he can show us a strong female protagonist, who doesn't fall into every sexy, fiery Latina stereotype.