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Netflix’s ‘On My Block’ is giving teens of color bigger roles in television

Lifelong friendships are put to the test as four freshman confront the challenges of growing up and life in their predominantly Hispanic and black neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles on Netflix’s new original show “On My Block.”

The first episode aired on March 16, 2018, starring Ronni Hawk, Sierra Capri, Diego Tinoco, and more, and co-created by Lauren Iungerich, Jeremy Haft and Eddie Gonzalez.

The show features the ups and downs of the lives of Monse (Capri), Ruby (Jason Genao), Cesar (Tinoco), and Jamal (Brett Gray) and how they survive their new environment.

Freshman Christian Bernal says, “I like the show just because of the drama of it all. What made it a good show was the tough decision-making and the outcome of it.”

The first episode starts in the summer before the four teenagers start high school. They are leaning against a fence, looking over at a high school party. Out of nowhere, a gun is fired and everyone runs out of the party. “That was a .38,” Monse says to her friends. “No, it sounded like a .45,” Ruby chimes in. “.357,” all four say, agreeing that was the right one.  This shows a little bit of the comic relief in the first episode, considering the fact that they are talking about a gun.

Monse is a feminist who goes back and forth between whether her blossoming sexuality is a blessing or a curse, as she is being catcalled by men everywhere. Monse also only has her dad with her because her mom left them at a young age.

Ruby is a smart teenager who knows how to negotiate and wants to be seen as a man. Unfortunately, his idea of manhood did not include having to share his room with his abuela and her light-up nativity set after water damage ruins her room.

Cesar is a smart teenager who is trapped in his family’s legacy of gang life. With all of the gang duties Cesar will receive, he will not be able to attend college like he dreamed.

Jamal is suppose to be an amazing football player like his dad was, except he is a horrible player who is terrified of getting injured. Jamal also is a terrible liar who cannot keep any secrets that his friends tell him.

Characters like Jamal add comic relief throughout the teens’ drama-filled lives. From jokes to random sayings, the viewers are definitely able to laugh here and there throughout the show.

Freshman Nina Branchizio said, “I liked the show because it was very real and the characters were about our age, so you could really connect with them.”

With the comic relief, there is also a mystery throughout the season. Legend has it that after the local skating rink, Roller World, was robbed of $50,000, the thieves stashed it away before getting busted, leaving the money hidden somewhere in the town.

“Only white people find treasure, and we’re brown,” Monse says as Jamal brings up the idea that they could be the ones to find the money. Unfortunately, his friends turn him down, saying that it is just a story, but Jamal is determined to be the one who finds the money.

In addition to all the mystery and drama in the show, there are also real-life situations. For example, Ruby’s “cousin” Olivia moves in with him and his parents after her parents are deported.

Another interesting part of the show is the soundtrack. With songs like “Finish Line” by Daye Jack, “Boss” by Lil Pump, and “Bubble Up and Double Up” by Jay 305, the show is brought to life. The sounds of the show set the scene and bring emotion to what you are watching.

The first season of the show is only 10 episodes, but the creators have confirmed that the show will be renewed for a second season.

What are some other examples of tv shows or movies where colored people are viewed as more prominent, rather than background, characters?

#KayliePetralia #Minorities #Netflix #OnMyBlock

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