Zohreen Adamjee and Michael Martinez, CNN, November 9, 2011
On Tuesday, recording artist Shakira became the first Colombian to get her name on a monument to the globe’s entertainment industry: the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
As the latest celebrity to get a terrazzo star, trimmed with bronze, on the sidewalks of Hollywood, Shakira joins a small but growing rank of minority performers making a dent in an overall industry that some criticize as not inviting enough to African-Americans, Latinos and Asians.
In fact, of the 2,354 stars on Hollywood sidewalks, only 3.4% of them belong to Hispanics such as Shakira, a CNN analysis shows.
The figure is 5.1% for African-Americans and a mere 0.4% for Asians, according to an analysis of the stars on the Walk of Fame.
Those figures fall short when compared with those minorities’ representation in the nation’s overall population: 16% for Hispanics, 13% for African-Americans and about 5% for Asians.
“The numbers are low,” said Andrew Weaver, an Indiana University assistant professor in the department of telecommunications, an expert in race and media. “The Walk of Fame reflects what we’re seeing in Hollywood in general.”
Hollywood’s overall shortcomings in including more minorities–and representing them as more than stereotypes–are a longstanding problem and has been roundly decried by minority advocacy groups and many performers.
It’s no secret that studios and record labels alike are hoping to find additional revenues in the rapidly growing Latino market.
“One of the ways to get Latinos into the movie theaters is getting Latino stars,” said Steven Ross, a University of Southern California history professor and author of “Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics.”
“Hollywood is also thinking about global markets: Central American and Latin markets. A majority of Hollywood revenue is coming from international revenue. It’s a much more significant part, more important to the studios’ bottom line now that it ever has been before,” Ross said.