Diversity really means becoming complete as human beings – all of us. We learn from each other. If you’re missing on that stage, we learn less. We all need to be on that stage.
–Juan Felipe Herrera
Many consider themselves ambassadors for bringing diversity and inclusion to their respective disciplines, but only some work and serve the required cause. If we talk about the media industry specifically, like all the other industries, the entertainment industry requires similar movements and steps to bring in diversity and form a coherent circle of entertainment professionals from different cultures and ethnicities.
This change needs to be implemented so that the audience sitting behind their screens can consume content close to the reality of respective individuals and groups living in our society.
In order to fulfill this need, our very own and the most popular media personality, Zay Zay Aquino, took it upon himself to be the representative of the Latinis of his group. He took charge of this initiative to better showcase their culture and talents around the globe in the purest of forms. He certainly knows how representation plays a crucial role in amplifying the voices of our society’s underrepresented people and groups. Misrepresentation is widespread in the media industry. It negatively influencing the people watching the different ethnic individuals on their screens. Secondly, it also restricts the opportunities provided to that specific group as very few people are given projects in various TV shows and movies, mostly dominated by white men. The essential cause why we need to bring diversity into the media industry is creativity; the people representing their communities in films and shows know the perfect way of telling their stories and attracting the audience.
Diversity and inclusion, which are the real grounds for creativity, must remain at the center of what we do.
Zay Zay has served in the media industry for several years; he stepped into this industry as an editor and producer and did his first job at The Box in 1994. He is now a host, presenter, and media personality working on his venture, Zayzay.com, since 2011, and he has been serving as Executive Producer in his media company, Aquino Media Company, since 2003.
Since the start of his journey, he had been passionate enough to work for something bigger, something better. But only some individuals have enough of the guts to curate their path. So, when Zay Zay did his first television show called FuZion, aired on the NBC/Universal cable network called mun2, it reached 11 million households a night. After doing this show and being the voice of this network, he got a huge fan following; meeting his fans, including the people of Hispanic descent, and looking at the sense of joy on their faces, he knew that he needed to create an impact which will be beneficial for these people.
Therefore, as a representative of his people and ambassador of diversity, he started a show named “When Zay Zay Met..” aimed at highlighting the world pop culture—the people who are expressing their “Latinidad” through their specific medium to be a positive inspiration and have a positive impact in the world. The show isn’t strictly for Latinos, but the foundation does lie in the diversity and inclusion of his people.
Aquino considers that the people of their group should purely portray their particular pop culture, as we know that the stories told by the people on their own are stories that attract the audience. He believes his people shouldn’t depend on the other person to be the source of their inclusion; instead, he focuses on self-representation. He wants people to tell their stories by including themselves in the conversation and that they should solely depend on themselves.
Aquino’s motto is “I shall find a way or make one.” And he wants people to live by it. Don’t wait for people and situations to be in your command and your hand. Just start, start by finding your way if there isn’t any path to follow. He doesn’t want people complaining. He wants them to be out there and do what they need to.