By Anderson Antunes (Forbes)
The story of population growth in the United States is a story about Latinos reshaping our landscape. Over the past decade, they have accounted for 56% of America’s growth, now reaching 16% of the population, or more than 50 million citizens, even surpassing African-Americans to become the country’s biggest minority group. Latinos are certainly making their voices and preferences heard.
Such a phenomenon can also be seen in the showbiz world, as we’re finally starting to see a positive shift in the portrayal of Latinos in Hollywood. Cultural stereotypes are giving way to cultural authenticity. As a result, New Generation Latinos, also known as NGLs, are making waves and changing the conversation. They’re influencing traditional media and making Latinos the biggest and fastest growing users of online and interactive technology, mobile devices, and social media.
“Together, Latino celebrities have over 600 million followers on Facebook and Twitter,” says Juan Proaño, the President and Co-Founder of Plus Three, a social media and technology company for political and non-profit organizations. “That is an extraordinary fan base that is larger than the population of the United States, Spain, and Brazil combined. With the celebrities adding at least ten thousand new followers each day, the power of Latinos in social media is vast and expanding.”
Latinos are now arguably the most important consumer group to marketers and media companies. Their current buying power of $1 trillion is expected to hit $1.5 trillion in the next five years, according to a new Nielsen report. Mainstream media is tapping in. ABC News and Univision News have recently announced plans to launch a 24-hour channel targeting the Latino audience. The as-yet unnamed, all-English channel will be the first of its kind, ABC News President Ben Sherwood said in a letter to his staff.
And how about all the new stars being recruited to reach that audience. Eight of the members on Forbes’ recently released Celebrity 100 list are Latinos. Their combined earnings totaled $245 million, including the number one in the ranking, the omnipresentJennifer Lopez. Born to Puerto Rican parents, Lopezjumped a surprising 50 places from last year’s list that measures power by earnings, media visibility and social media popularity.
A great deal of that plunge can be credited to Lopez’ acceptance within the Latino community. In 2010, the singer landed a judge’s chair on American Idol, one of the most popular shows among Latinos. The job gave Lopez a platform to promote her music and turn her image around. In the meantime, she also kept busy working on yet another talent competition show, Univision’s Q’Viva: The Chosen, which was watched by 2.2 million viewers on its debut in January, according to Nielsen estimates, giving the network a 37% increase in its time slot compared to average viewership over the previous weeks.
Another case of success among Latinos is that of Colombian actressSofia Vergara, who plays the loud wife with the tight tops and high heels on ABC‘s top-rated sitcom Modern Family. Although feelings are mixed about whether Vergara is a role model for Latino women or if she’s just helping to perpetuate a stereotype, the truth is that you can’t escape her these days. Besides her TV gig, Vergara can also be seen in ads for Diet Pepsi and Cover Girl cosmetics, not to mention her clothing line with KMart that earned the actress a seven-figure advance.
In America, as goes the culture, so goes the politics. Several reports have emerged on the importance of the minority vote for this year’s presidential election. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was criticized by various media outlets and political pundits for failing to reach out Latino voters. Meanwhile PresidentBarack Obama is supported by 69% of them, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Latinos have produced the world’s most powerful celebrity. Will they help out making the new U.S. president?
Check out the list with The World’s Most Powerful Latino Celebrities:
1. Jennifer Lopez, Actress, Musician
2. Lionel Messi, Athlete
3. Cameron Diaz, Actress
4. Gisele Bundchen, Supermodel
5. Alex Rodriguez, Athlete
6. Sofia Vergara, Actress
7. Eva Longoria, Actress
8. Adriana Lima, Supermodel