Rick Najera: Hollywood Latinos 'Almost White'

Najera
Rick Najera doesn’t remember his wife Susie dialing 9-1-1. She came home six hours after Najera had taken a fall that left him bleeding on the floor of his home. The Hollywood actor/writer/producer had pneumonia and ended up in an intensive care unit in a coma, according to a recent NPR story.
Rick Najera told NPR’s Michel Martin that his near-death experience caused him to reflect.
“I really looked at my life and I said I wanted to chronicle it. I wanted to bring it down and talk about it in a very human, honest way,” he says.
Rick Najera has chronicled it all in his latest book, a memoir, titledAlmost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood. The examination of his own career led Najera to realize something bigger.
“My life, just looking at it individually, really tells the whole story of the Latino experience in America,” Najera added.
By any count Rick Najera’s experience in Hollywood has been illustrious. He’s worked with top talent like Sidney Poitier, Whoopi Goldberg, John Leguizamo and Jim Carey. He was a writer for cutting-edge comedy shows like In Living Color and MADtv. He wrote and acted in a successful Broadway production – Latinologues. And he’s become a sought after consultant, whose eye for talent has launched the careers of countless actors.
Rick Najera acknowledges that the jobs weren’t always easy. The long hours spent in writers’ rooms were gruelling, and even on groundbreaking shows, the diversity was lacking.
According to Najera, “Hollywood is … most likely a scared, white, 20-year-old boy.”
This is a problem in writers’ rooms, adds Najera, because he says the typical Hollywood writer doesn’t have experience interacting on a regular basis with people of color. And Rick Najera adds that a lack of diversity in the writers’ room isn’t apparent to most audiences.
For more on this story, go to: http://www.npr.org/2013/10/03/228833710/-forced-confessions-of-a-latino-in-hollywood

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