Entertainment

23 Latinx Documentaries On Netflix to Elevate Your Weekend

So many of us grew up reading Latin America’s rich history as an aside in a history book written by the white colonizer. As Latinos begin to finally have an honest voice in the film industry, we’re hearing our history told by Latinos.

It’s both thrilling and painful to bear, and these 24 documentaries are at the top of our list.

1.” The Latino List: Volume 1″

CREDIT: Netflix

Let’s begin with the obvious. This Netflix Original documentary features some of the biggest Latino names in entertainment, politics, business and science and their truth about what it was like to grow up Latino in America. Spoiler: there were obstacles. Then they conquered them.

This one features America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, and more!

2. “The Latino List: Volume 2”

CREDIT: Netflix

Ok, so obviously that topic cannot all fit into one documentary and you’ll need to hear more on point Latino conversations. This volume features insights from George Lopez, Soledad O’Brien, Victor Cruz, and Giselle Fernandez.

3. “Beauties of the Night”

CREDIT: Netflix

You know how everyone’s mother was a disco queen back in the day, but you’re still looking for trophies as proof? This documentary features *actual* former disco queens of the Mexican burlesque variety and they have a lot to say. Hear them out.

4. “Whore’s Glory”

CREDIT: Netflix

Hey, look! It’s a compassionate documentary of the lives of sex workers in Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico. Warning: they use the word prostitute instead of sex worker.

5. “City of God”

CREDIT: Netflix

This is not quite a documentary, but is worthy of making this list given it’s status as a four time Oscar nomination back in 2002. It’s based off the true story of a boy named Rocket who grew up in a Rio de Janeiro slum and features his photography from three decades of avoiding a life of crime and drugs.

6. “The Propaganda Game”

CREDIT: Netflix

Only one foreigner has ever been given access into present-day North Korea and his name is Álvaro Longoria. Check out what North Korea decided to show the world. Hint: it’s staged, but still fascinating.

7. “Footprints: The Path of Your Life”

CREDIT: Netflix

Ever heard of El Camino? It’s a 500 mile, 40 day trek that goes through Spain and is thought of as a spiritual journey. Follow these 10 men who walk the Camino de Santiago.

8. “Fresh Dressed”

CREDIT: Netflix

Director Sacha Jenkins dives deep into the evolution of hip hop street fashion from Armani suits, mink coats and feathered hats into Pumas, Lee Jeans and Kangols. Spoiler: New York Latinos played a key role. Just ask my New Yorican mom.

9. “Narco Cultura”

CREDIT: Netflix

So many documentaries about Latinos are centered around drug lords. This one is about the narcocorrido singer El Komander, who waves a bazooka around on stage at cartel-organized concertsIt’s a pretty interesting dive into the culture of ciudad Juarez, infamous for being essentially controlled by the cartel.

10. “Countdown to Death: Pablo Escobar”

CREDIT: Netflix

There are half a dozen documentaries on Netflix about Pablo Escobar. This one uses wire taps, rare interviews and images to reconstruct the last nine years of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s life.

11. “Who Killed Pablo Escobar?”

CREDIT: Netflix

Following the path of a crime mystery drama, this 45 minute documentary looks into evidence that surfaced in 2014 about Pablo Escobar’s death. Conspiracy theory: a joint effort between the Colombian and U.S. governments are responsible.

12. “Pablo Escobar: Angel or Demon?”

CREDIT: Netflix

When you’re done understand the life and death of Pablo Escobar, now you can ask yourself if he was an angel or a demon. Some people consider him a Robin Hood of sorts, but I’m just going to go ahead and pass judgement on his bloody, murder-y reign in Colombia and go with diablo.

13. “Perú: Tesoro escondido”

CREDIT: Netflix

Want to learn more about Perú in a broad sense? This documentary tries to cram 1,000 years of cultural traditions into just an hour and 16 minutes. The footage is breathtaking and speaks to its natural riches.

14. “Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives”

CREDIT: Netflix

In the 1990s, Robert “Bobbito” García and Adrian “stretch” Bartos introduced the world to underground hip-hop on their offbeat nightly radio hour. They’re the ones who handed the mic over to unsigned acts like Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan and Big Pun.

P.S. It’s directed by Bobbito himself. True story.

15. “Sunday Ball”

CREDIT: Netflix

You know how sports movies can be so moving when the whole town is rooting for the team? This documentary tells the truer version of that story: The city (Rio) is poor, and the players are underpaid playing on dirt fields. Their passion brings the neighborhoods together in celebration

16. “The Cuba Libre Story”

CREDIT: Netflix

Netflix has Cuba content on lock. This Netflix Original docuseries recounts a holistic view of Cuba’s history, including it’s colonial conquest and how that impacted the government today.

17. “Cuba and the Cameraman”

CREDIT: Netflix

Enter the documentaries featuring white men in Cuba. To be fair, this guy actually spent 40 years immersed in Cuba, following 8 families. Follow their stories.

18. “Mateo”

CREDIT: Netflix

Truth: I haven’t watched this. This extranjero falls in love with mariachi while in jail and then sells everything to learn from the best in Mexico. I’ve heard he’s pretty good, but tell us what you think!

19. “The Wolfpack”

CREDIT: Netflix

Oh man, where to begin. This documentary follows the lives of seven siblings who were raised in front of the television by an overprotective Peruvian father. They obsessively re-create the films that consumed their lives, even though it’s not quite the freedom they were searching for. The film won a Grand Jury prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

20. “Los Punks”

CREDIT: Netflix

Viva Los Punks! Let’s be real, Latinos define punk and Angela Boatwright gives us an inside look of the East Los Angeles teens who keep the punk scene alive.

21. “Marias: Faith in Womanhood”

CREDIT: Netflix

We all have at least one tia or middle name named after the Virgin Mary. The documentary interviews a variety of Marias and their different takes on their name and their faith. This one is next on my list.

22. “When Two Worlds Collide”

CREDIT: Netflix

You need to be emotionally prepared before witnessing second-hand the Peruvian government wreak violence on the Amazon’s indigenous peoples over land and money. Watch Peruvian President Alan Garcia and indigenous leader Alberto Pizango fight for what they believe is their land. #TeamPizango

23. “The Day I Met El Chapo”

CREDIT: Netflix

What could go wrong when Kate del Castillo introduces Sean Penn to wanted drug lord El Chapo? Pretty much everything. Watch the three part series that lands El Chapo in prison. Woops!

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CBS Pledges to Make the Casts of ‘Survivor’ and ‘Big Brother’ 50% People of Color

Entertainment

CBS Pledges to Make the Casts of ‘Survivor’ and ‘Big Brother’ 50% People of Color

Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

CBS just announced that it is committing to making at least 50% of the casts of their unscripted shows Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). CBS also announced that they are devoting 25% of their unscripted budget to BIPOC creators. The changes are expected to take effect in the 2021-2022 season.

“The reality TV genre is an area that’s especially underrepresented, and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling,” said CBS CEO George Cheeks. “As we strive to improve all of these creative aspects, the commitments announced today are important first steps in sourcing new voices to create content and further expanding the diversity in our unscripted programming, as well as on our Network.”

CBS’s unscripted TV shows include fan-favorite staples like “Survivor”, “The Amazing Race”, “Big Brother”, and “Love Island”. The network has regularly come under fire for failing to cast diverse talent in both their scripted and unscripted programs. Unlike other broadcast networks like ABC (Grey’s Anatomy, literally any other Shondaland show) or NBC (This Is Us, Superstore), CBS has a reputation for white-washing its programming.

Last year, a former CBS Diversity & Inclusion executive wrote an op-ed in Variety accusing the company of having a “white problem”.

“While CBS proudly touts its diversity programs, a close look beneath the surface reveals that the company is unconcerned about creating space for minorities,” wrote Whitney Davis, who is a Black woman. “CBS continues to promote its diversity initiatives in public, while internally minorities are practically invisible.” 

In June of this year, a group of Black “Survivor” alumni created a petition demanding that the stalwart show make 30% of its cast BIPOC. They also asked that BIPOC are given “equitable screen time and opportunities to participate in marketing and promotional events.” The show’s Black alumni alleged that they were ostracized, gaslighted, and short-shrifted while they were contestants on the show. The petition received almost 8,000 signatures to-date.

As is expected, fan reactions have been mixed. Some people are happy that CBS is making the effort to fix the structural problems of their company. But others feel that the commitment is forced and will result in BIPOC cast members being treated as tokens.

This person is confident that CBS’s unscripted shows will simply improve by including more people of color on their cast lists.

If anything, this decision will add some much-needed change to their tired formulas.

This person was ready to submit their application.

Now that people know the playing field is more even, we’re sure that CBS will receive a more diverse pool of applications.

This person has doubts as to how CBS will approach choosing and casting POC.

It’s one thing to talk about diversity, but it’s another thing to actually choose people who represent a range of diverse cultures.

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The Trailer For the ‘Saved By the Bell’ Reboot Just Dropped and Slater Is Front and Center

Entertainment

The Trailer For the ‘Saved By the Bell’ Reboot Just Dropped and Slater Is Front and Center

Photo: Universal Television/YouTube

The trailer for the “Saved By the Bell” reboot dropped on Tuesday and it actually looks…good? We’re so excited, we just can’t hide it. The series has long been in the works, with the reboot being announced all the way back in September 2019.

The reboot will revolve Zack Morris (who is now a California governor) after he “gets into hot water” after he closes a bunch of low-income high schools. Governor Zack’s brilliant idea is to send the kids affected by the school closures to the “highest performing schools in the state”, which naturally, includes Bayside High. According to the synopsis, “the influx of new students gives the over privileged Bayside kids a much needed and hilarious dose of reality.” We never imagined “Saved By the Bell” tackling class-conflict before, but hey! Weirder things have happened in 2020.

Much of the original cast is slated to appear, including Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris, Elizabeth Berkley as Jessica Spano, Tiffani Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski, and of course, Mario Lopez in the legendary role of Slater. Thankfully, Slater appears like he will be in the show quite a bit, playing a coach to the high school students (why aren’t we surprised?).

In addition to the original cast, it looks like the series has also added a bunch of new characters to flesh out the new series. One of those characters will be “Mac Morris”, Zack Morris’ mini-me son. And judging by the trailer and promotional materials, the show’s lead will be a Latina character named Daisy, played by newcomer Haskiri Velazquez.

Lopez has been vocal about his excitement for the reboot, recently telling Women’s Day that the reboot is “much funnier, to be quite honest.” “It’s got a different look and feel and much more mature ‘Saved by the Bell’,” he explained. “But I think they [struck] a good balance with this nostalgia in the new version.” He also teased that he might “bring back the mohawk,” but it appears we weren’t that lucky.

And now that we saw the trailer, we have to agree with Lopez. The new series appears to be a sort of tongue-in-cheek meta-commentary on the cheesiness of the original ’90s series. The plot device of the “outsiders” (i.e. lower-income students) coming into Bayside High is genius. It means the show can be cheesy and over-the-top while poking fun of it’s self in a self-aware way. In other words, it’s the best of both worlds.

The series is set to premiere on Wednesday, Nov. 25 on NBC’s streaming service Peacock.

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