Truth be told, I hadn’t heard of the Fusion Network, ABC News and Univision’s new network aimed at English-speaking Latinos, until receiving an email to appear on the show as a guest. Unfortunately I had to decline because of a schedule conflict, but I never thought once about the demographics of its cast of anchors. As a woman from a mixed background, there are some things that I look at with a fine tooth comb and others that have been beaten with a stick so much I’m pretty much novacaine to it. But there has been a few comments about Fusion’s lack of Afro-Latinos on the network, even though it hasn’t officially launched.
In a recent piece for The Root, Richard Prince wonders if Fusion has dropped the ball when it comes to excluding darker skinned Latinos on air:
Asked whether Afro-Latinos will be on the network, a joint venture of ABC News and Univision, spokesman David Ford told Journal-isms by email, “He’s not an Afro-Latino, but Derrick Ashong will be anchoring a nightly program on Fusion called ‘DNA.’ Born in Ghana and educated at Harvard, Derrick was raised in Brooklyn, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and New Jersey. Derrick previously anchored ‘The Derrick Ashong Experience’ on SIRIUS XM’s Oprah Radio and the Emmy-nominated ‘The Stream’ on Al Jazeera English.”
Ashong is not Hispanic.
Arlene Davila, a professor of anthropology, social and cultural analysis at New York University and an expert on Latino identity and marketing to Latinos, saw the Oct. 9 news release about Fusion’s morning show and wrote on Facebook Monday:
“Remember ABC/Univision ‘Fusion”s promise to represent ‘Latino millennials’?? well get ready for more of the same: super white anchors, no Mexican Americans or Puerto Ricans or US Latinos but same old cast you’d find in any Latin American exportable show — except they speak English! Whoever is heading this thing needs to hit our barrios and get a reality check!! ”
One of her Facebook friends replied, “Well, but what can we expect from Blancovision?” and “The other phrase that we used was Uniblanco.”
Davila told Journal-isms by telephone, “the racial blinders are still in place.”
Fusion launches on October 28th, at 7pm. For more information on Fusion, visit http://abcnews.go.com/abc_univision/.