These movies and TV shows are a great way to support Latinx and Hispanic entertainers
Growing up, I rarely saw movie or TV stars who looked (or spoke or acted) like the people in my family. For a young child of Nicaraguan-Mexican immigrants like myself, living in a predominantly Latinx community, attending a school where most of the kids and their families were from Latin America and the Caribbean, there was no such thing as representation. Even now as an adult, I still don’t see enough of it. As of 2022, despite accounting for at least 19% of the US population, Latinxs only made up 3.1% of lead actors on TV shows and 5.2% of leads in film.
This Hispanic Heritage Month, consider watching and supporting some of the Latinx representation on screen. It’s a great way to not only support Latinx showrunners, directors, and actors, but also help keep these shows going (and helps remind producers that people do, in fact, care about diverse, positive, and accurate representation). See below for some of my recommendations of great Latinx/Hispanic shows and films you can watch with your families this month and every month!
TV Shows and Movies to Watch with Younger Kids During Hispanic Heritage Month
Dora the Explorer
For over 20 years, Dora has been enchanting young children, Latinx and otherwise, reminding them to stay curious and adventurous while also helping reinforce bilingualism (Dora often injects Spanish vocabulary into the show).
The toddler and preschool set will love this charming show about five-year-old Rosie Fuentes, a Mexican-American girl growing up in Texas with a bilingual, multicultural family. Watch Rosie approach the world with curiosity as she also teaches your kiddos Spanish words in each episode.
Movies and TV Shows Perfect for Tweens to Watch for Hispanic Heritage Month
One Day At A Time
This delightful remake of the 1970s show of the same name centers on a Cuban-American family and their ups and downs while always making you laugh. Tackling topics like mental health, single parenthood, LGBTQIA identity, relationships, education, and Latinx culture, the show stars Justina Machado, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, and Puerto Rican powerhouse Rita Moreno.
The first four seasons are available on Netflix.
This newer film by Mexican-American actor-turned-director Eva Longoria tells the real-life story of Richard Montañez, who went from being a janitor at a Frito-Lay factory to becoming an executive at the company after helping create Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. It’s an uplifting, positive story for any child of immigrants or Latinx person to enjoy.
Watch it now on Hulu.
In The Heights
Quiara Alegría Hudes’ and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway smash musical about the interwoven lives of the residents of the predominantly Dominican NYC neighborhood of Washington Heights is just as phenomenal as a film. Sing along with the cast, featuring Latinx talent Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera, Stephanie Beatriz, Leslie Grace, Jimmy Smits, Dascha Polanco, and many others.
Available for viewing on Max.
Movies and TV Shows Teens Might Enjoy
John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons
Older teens can enjoy this hilarious and informative one-man show by comedian and actor John Leguizamo. Tired of hearing about the lack of Latin American history his son was being taught in schools, Leguizamo takes matters into his own hands and creates his own curriculum to offer a brief history of various parts of Latin America, with visuals, jokes, and more to make sure the students (aka the audience) stay engaged.
Watch it on Netflix.
This biopic of 90s Tejana music star Selena is perfect for a movie night with older teens who might share a love of the Bidi-Bidi-Bom-Bom singer. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Edward James Olmos, Guadalupe Ontiveros, and Jon Seda, the film gives viewers a closer look at Selena’s brief but impactful life.
Streaming now on Max.
Real Women Have Curves
America Ferrera stars in this film about a young, first-generation Mexican-American teen navigating her desire to go to college and have a life of her own with her sense of duty to stay in her hometown and help provide for her family. Directed by Colombian-American Patricia Cardoso and based on the play written by Josefina López, it’s a great coming-of-age film to watch with older teens.
Watch it on Max.
Movies and TV Shows That Are Fun For The Whole Family
By now, just about everyone has talked about Bruno and then some, and that’s a good thing! This story of an enchanted Colombian family who each learn to work with the gifts they are given stars a wide array of Latinx talent, including Stephanie Beatriz, Diane Guerrero, John Leguizamo, Maluma, and others. The Disney film also features several incredibly catchy tunes, with original songs by Lin Manuel-Miranda and score pieces by famed Latina composer Germaine Franco.
Watch on Disney Plus.
This heartwarming tale of a young boy’s desire to become a musician and his connection to his Abuela Coco offers a delightful window into Mexican culture. Celebrating everything from mariachi music to Dia de los Muertos to the importance of la familia, the film is a must-watch for all families. Among the Latinx talent voicing the characters are Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor, Jamie Camil, Alanna Ubach, and Edward James Olmos.
Available to watch on Disney Plus.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
While Dora in the cartoon version is simply Latina (not rooted in any specific nationality), this movie highlights Peruvian culture, sending Dora and her pals on an epic adventure to Peru, exploring Incan sites and artifacts, with Dora speaking lines in Quechua. The fun-filled flick stars Isabela Merced as a teenaged Dora along with Michael Peña, Eugenio Derbez, and Eva Longoria, with Danny Trejo lending his voice for the role of Boots.
The film is available to rent or buy on Amazon.