New York, NY – December 7, 2019 – The Latino Entertainment Journalists Association (LEJA) has formed under President Clayton Davis (owner of AwardsCircuit) in an effort to create a diverse voice in the industry for the Latino community. After realizing there was a glaring gap in the diversity conversation for Latino voices in entertainment, Davis decided to step up and steer the committee for the inaugural association which would represent all Latino voices across multiple disciplines in entertainment.
With the help of additional board members Toni Gonzales (Freelance, PGA Member), Niki Cruz (amNew York), and Kiko Martinez (Remezcla), LEJA is committed to developing and uplifting Latino voices among all areas and backgrounds of the entertainment industry.
Founded in 2018, LEJA provides a much-needed opportunity for writers based in the United States and its territories, to have their works amplified and heard in the areas of film, television, music, theatre, and the arts. Accepting of all backgrounds and identities, LEJA embraces anyone who identifies as Latino, Latina, Latinx, Hispanic, Afro-Latino, Afro-Latina, Latin, Spanish, or any inclusive and progressive description that champions and accelerates the voices of our culture from around the world.
“All people deserve an opportunity to have their voices heard,” said Clayton Davis. “One of the most frustrating things to witness as a Latino journalist working in this industry has been to see my fellow Latinos spend such so much time discussing what we should be called, that we’re never uniting on the things that truly matter. The core values of LEJA are inclusive to everyone. This organization celebrates the culture I’ve known from my early days in the Bronx and unites all of us, finally, under one mission, to lift us up. For decades, as a person of mixed race, I struggled to find my place in any culture. It wasn’t just non-Latinos that turned me away. Sometimes it was Latinos themselves because I didn’t meet their own identifying traits for what makes a ‘real‘ Hispanic. ”
Davis goes on to say, “The love of film and art is universal. There are nearly 50 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Our members range from first-generation, to others with families that have been here for decades. We have citizens and DREAMERS, pure and mixed races, Spanish-speaking and non-Spanish speaking, and a foundation in place to reach out to journalists both old and new, to encourage a new generation of writers to do just that: write. We have future plans to expand this organization through professional networking and proceed to expand into varying facets of entertainment including television, music, theatre, and more. If a Latino can write about it, we want to include it.”
Davis closes by saying, “With a toxic climate that paints Latinos as anything but hard-working, intelligent, and richly valued people, it’s time we take the mic ourselves and say what we need to say.”
The association is kicking off with 24 inaugural members and plans to release their first set of film nominations on Jan. 20, 2019.
The current members consist of journalists, from different backgrounds, identifications, and corners of the United States. The inaugural members, outlets, Twitter handles, and their cultural identities are:
- Carlos Aguilar (The Wrap, MovieMaker Magazine, Remezcla) – @Carlos_Film – Latino (more specifically Mexican)
- Manuel Betancourt (Remezcla, Backstage, The Atlantic) – @bmanuel – White, Latinx
- J. Don Birnam (Splash Report) – @jdonbirnam – Mexican American
- Kerensa Cadenas (VanityFair) – @kerensacadenas – Mexican-American
- Liz Calvario (Entertainment Tonight) – @lizcalvario – Mexican-American
- Rosy Cordero (Deadline, Latina) – @SocialRosy – Peruvian/Cuban
- Niki Cruz (amNewYork) – @cruzniki – Puerto Rican and Italian – LEJA Secretary
- Clayton Davis (AwardsCircuit) – @AwardsCircuit – Puerto Rican and Black – LEJA President
- Vanessa Erazo (Remezcla) – @infoCinelandia – Mexican and Salvadoran
- Tim Estiloz (Boston Latino TV) – @TimEstiloz – Hispanic (mixed), Mexican, Native American, Spanish, Black
- Dani Fernandez (Nerdist) – @msdanifernandez – Mexican-American
- Toni Gonzales (Freelance) – @movietoni – Mexican and Native American – LEJA Vice President
- Ed Gonzalez (Slant) – @certified_ed – Latino
- Umberto Gonzalez (Heroic Hollywood, The Wrap) – @elmayimbe – Colombian and Dominican
- Daniel Gutierrez (Directors Cut Radio) – @MovieGuyDan – Hispanic New Mexican
- Marcela Isaza (Associated Press) – @misaza – Hispanic
- Yolanda Machado (Marie Claire, Remezcla) – @SassyMamainLA – Peruvian-Mexican, First generation American
- Kiko Martinez (San Antonio Current, CineSnob) – @cinesnobkiko – Mexican-American – LEJA Treasurer
- Wilson Morales (BlackFilm) – @blackfilm – Honduran of African descent
- Claudia Puig (KPCC 89.3) – @claudiapuig – Mexican and German
- Naibe Reynoso (Freelance, The Trend Talk show, France 24) – @naibereynoso – Mexican-American
- Jack Rico (ShowBizCafe.com) – @JackRicofficial – Colombian-American
- Julianne Escobedo Shepherd (Jezebel) – @jawnita – Chicana
- Jose Solís (StageBuddy, The Film Stage) – @josesolismayen – Latinx
LEJA key dates for the 2018 film year are:
January 13, 2019 – Nomination ballots are sent to members.
January 15, 2019 – Nominations due back.
January 16, 2019 – Members receive final nominations internally.
January 19, 2019 – Final ballots are sent out to members for preferential ballot voting.
January 20, 2019, @ 2:00 pm Eastern Time – Final ballots due.
January 20, 2019 @ 5:00 pm Eastern Time. – Winners, with nominees, released and announced to the general public.
The organization has also launched the hashtag #YoSoyLEJA in an effort for all writers, both professional and aspiring, with Latin American roots, to identify themselves on social media and unite with LEJA under the umbrella of journalism.
Official Site: http://www.latinojournalists.com