In the film Brown Is The New Green, a film about George Lopez and the rapidly growing Latino consumer market. Director, Jennifer Kobzik uncovers the struggle of George Lopez from poor boy to rich megastar while also observing the fastest growing minority in the United States. Although the film jumps from topic to topic, it conveys important subjects of race in America, a topic that is usually scene as taboo and unrequited.
George Lopez who is the most successful Latin American television actor in history is a celebrity who causes controversy not only because of his race but also because of his comedic material. Personally, I have never been humored by his work, for the sole reason of not being able to relate to his comedy. However, he does appeal to millions of Americans, a majority being Latinos who thoroughly enjoy his work as a comedian and an actor, for the sole reason of being able to understand his perspective. He’s had success as a comedian, writer, and an actor.
The documentary divulges information about Lopez’s early life, abandon by his parents and being raised in a non-traditional “Latino household”. Where traditionally and stereotypically, the father and mother are present throughout a child’s development. Critics of Lopez’s work attack him for using his unfortunate childhood as humor to entertain audiences, while painting pictures of non-positive Latino stereotypes. Lopez replies, “I’m just stating the facts”. He overcame hardships and turmoil to become one of Hollywood’s most respected and successful stars, an accomplishment that was even more difficult because he looked like a Latino.
The film also describes how the lack of a “real Latino” style and look is hidden in most media, including magazines, film, and television. Although Latin Americans do have access to television channels like Telemundo, most argue that these are not relatable. How could they be? Just because characters speak Spanish does not mean a Latin American can associate with what is being projected to them, a common misunderstanding to non-Latino’s, including myself. This argument is a major topic of the film, because it allows the audience to comprehend how Latino’s want to be incorporated into American society and not left out or used as a focus groups to sell products. Why should advertising agencies create Latino based ads when Latino’s are living in America? Do we have Italian, Irish, or Japanese commercials? Being Latino is an illegitimate term to begin, stemming from government documents homogenizing different groups of people into one. Because, the fact remains clear, most Latino’s do not call themselves Latino’s but Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Columbian, Argentineans, etc.
Latino’s are one of the most profitable consumer markets in the country. They spend more than any other minority group, and it’s become apparent that corporations and advertising agencies are also making money, taking advantage of these statistics. Even in the last election, Latinos are increasingly becoming a highly influential group.
I would advise people who may not be humored by George Lopez to make it a point to watch this film. It is important to understand Latino culture, not only because 1 in 6 of Americans are Latino but also to better understand the culture and media’s neglect of a people who are as American as you and I.
Watch the trailer.