PBS Is Making a New Show Called ‘Alma’s Way’ Centering Around a Puerto Rican Girl and Her Family
Move over, Dora the Explorer! There’s a new Latina in town with her very own TV show and he name is Alma.
The new kids show is called “Alma’s Way” and it will be premiering on PBS Kids in the Fall of 2021.
Per PBS, “Alma’s Way” will center around “a proud, confident Puerto Rican girl, who lives in the Bronx with her parents and younger brother, Junior, as well as a diverse group of close-knit and loving friends, family, and community members.”
The show was created by the Emmy-winning actress Sonia Manzano, who you probably know as “Maria” from “Sesame Street”. According to Manzano, “Alma’s Way” is based on her childhood upbringing in the South Bronx.
“Alma’s way is to think things through, and I hope by animating the thought process, kids will be inspired and excited about what goes on in their own minds,” Manzano said in a statement. “I want them to know we all have the power to think regardless of who we are.”
Manzano has previously opened up about how her role on “Sesame Street” paved the way for Latinx representation onscreen. “I’m Puerto Rican, born in New York, watched a lot of television in 50s, never saw anybody who looked like me on television, and thereby began to feel invisible … and I wondered, how was I going to contribute to a society that didn’t see me?” she said in an interview with CBS. “Now, my position here on Sesame Street is so that other Hispanic children can watch me and say ‘Oh look, I exist in the world.'”
The show also plans to “showcase the diversity of New York City” and “authentically reflect the cultures of all the characters.”
This news is significant because there aren’t many children’s shows with Latino protagonists (even though Latinos are the fastest growing minority group in the U.S.) Other than “Dora the Explorer” and “Elena of Avalor” (which takes place in an alternate magical reality), kids shows with a Latino as the main character are few and far between.
According to research conducted at the Center for Scholars & Storytellers at UCLA, 65% of the human characters on American kids shows are white. To make things more problematic, only 38% of the main characters in U.S. children’s programming are female. So, “Alma’s Way” is doing double duty by making its main character both female and a person of color.
Let’s hope “Alma’s Way” is one of the many steps that Hollywood is taking to create more representation for Latinos in the media.
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