WASHINGTON - Jennifer Lopez says Latinos in the United States are starting to realize their power in politics and media, and that makes the timing good for her latest undertaking: Lobbying for greater diversity in TV programming.
The entertainer spoke Wednesday at the Cable Show, a communications convention, ahead of new programming set to launch July 18 on the NUVOtv network. Lopez serves as chief creative officer of the English-language Latino channel.
"It's an extension of who I am as an artist," she said about her new role in an interview with the Associated Press. "As I grow in this business, I've been in the business close to 20 years now, that creative spark that you have doesn't go away. It keeps growing almost."
Lopez said working behind the scenes is just-- if not more-- rewarding than performing.
"Singing and acting and dancing and performing live, it's always going to be my passion," she said. "But at the end of the day when you're given the opportunities to be more creative, to create things more from the ground up, to really, really do things like NUVO, which is, really for me empowering a community that means so much to me."
She added, "It feels bigger than me. It feels bigger than just a television show. It's something that can change the world, the face of television, the way people feel about themselves, how they're inspired, what they aspire to do and to be."
The actress-singer-dancer said these are exciting times across the board for Latinos.
"There's a big revolution going on, it's like a media and cultural revolution of Latinos here in the United States," she said. "We're realizing our power. We're realizing that we matter here. You know, we're not just, you know, the guys working behind the scenes in the kitchens and as a plumber. You know what I mean. We really have influence. We're really growing as a community and we've come into a place where we deserve to be considered and served and catered to and that's an exciting thing for Latinos right now."
Lopez was meeting later Wednesday with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the National Council of La Raza and Senators Harry Reid and Bob Menendez.
She said businesses are getting on board too because of the tremendous buying power of Latinos, which is why she is also the creative chief officer of the Viva Movil brand for Verizon. The entertainer is opening a chain of 15 cell phone stores with bilingual staffers starting this month to cater to the Hispanic market.
While Lopez continues to undertake creative ventures, she said she will never stop performing.
"It's a new day when it comes to women. Where before, whatever, 20 years ago, you were written off by the time you were 25, oh she's 28, she's so old. We're realizing, the world is realizing that women are not even coming into their own until they're in their 40s, that they have so much to offer. That you can stay in shape, that your life is not over once you have kids and it becomes only about your kids, that to be a great mother, or great parent or great woman in this world you have to be a great individual first, you know what I mean, and that's very empowering and we're all realizing this."
Lopez said many major actresses in Hollywood right now are in their 40s and in the prime of the careers including Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts and Halle Berry.
"It's a new day for women, it's a new day for Latinos, it's a new day," she said.