Entertainment

I Watched ‘Gentefied’ On Netflix And These Are My Brutally Honest Thoughts

Guys, this. is. crazy. Two people claim that I look like Carlos Santos from Netflix’s new series “Gentefied.” Que honor! I mean, whatever, it was my wife’s tía who said I look like him and my wife.

Check it out, y’all.

Credit: ofcourseitscarlos / Instagram

I mean, I totally see it and there is no way I can be biased.

Carlos Santos, If you need me to do your stunts or stand in for you when you eat a taco or bite into a torta ahogada, just let me know, homie. I’m ready for Hollywood, cabrón.

Enough about me being famous and extremely handsome. I’m here to let your booty know if it’s worth it to sit through ten episodes of “Gentefied.”

Here’s the premise of the show:

Two feuding cousins struggle to keep their abuelo’s taco restaurant afloat. All the while, the threat of gentrification, and the emergence of young hipster customers force the traditional taco joint to adapt to survive. 

I grew up in Huntington Park, California and this show should be praised for how it handles complicated themes. From gentrification to Chicano identity and the struggles of lower-income families, the show reminds me un chingo of my hood, my childhood, and even my present-day life. “Gentefied” took the stuff I grew up dealing with, and found a way to present it in the context of a comedy series. But, make no mistake, you will cry while watching this show because you will see your own community represented.

Casimiro (A Traditional Compa in Changing Times)

Recognize this dude? Of course! You know he looks like your abuelo. I know he looks a lot like my abuelo. The casting for Casimiro (the abuelo and taco restaurant owner on the show) is perfection. This viejo knows how to make you cry.

For starters, Casimiro is still in love with his deceased wife, Delfina, and you’ll catch him getting sentimental thinking about her every now and then. My heart was not ready for that kind of love and the tragedy of his character is already implied in his name. “Casi”-“miro,” Spanish for “nearly sees,” because this poor character’s conflict throughout the show is his struggle to hang on to his tradition and values while keeping an eye on the ever-changing present and trying to adapt.

Casimiro is surrounded by change. Rent going up. Menus evolving to catch the attention of young customers. Rich developers swooping in on Boyle Heights and buying up property as the city quickly becomes a hot spot. You’ll have to watch the series to see if this sweet old abuelo can keep up with everything happening around him.

Gay Representation & Struggling Artists: HEY, GURL, HEEEY!

The queer topic is still highly taboo in Latino culture. We don’t talk much about it, at least not with older generations of Latinos. Even though LGBTQ+ rights made huge strides leading up to 2016 and shows like “Queer Eye” are beloved in the mainstream, older Latino generations still have reservations and a hard time accepting queer family members.

In the show, Karie Martin, plays Anna Morales, a queer muralist/painter. Morales gets caught between her protesting girlfriend’s war against the gentrifiers and Casimiro and family’s attempts to keep the business alive. Anna is a struggling artist with a heart of gold but her storyline gets deep when she finds herself being commissioned by the very developers who are out to buy up her neighborhood. The drama gets thicc, fam.

The show raises a lot of moral questions about making pure art versus profit, and how artists can sometimes end up putting aside their values because sometimes you gotta pay the bills. Definitely watch how this plays out. You definitely want to keep an eye out on episode 5. It’s a gem and gives a little insight into the queer struggle amongst Latinos.

The “Not Mexican Enough and Not American Enough” Issue

Back Carlos Santos, who plays Chris on “Gentefied.” Chris is the grandson of Casimiro and is trying to get out of the hood so he can become a 5-star Michelin chef. His family refers to him as a “coconut,” which is what you call someone who’s brown on the outside, but gringo af on the inside.

Throughout the show, Chris’s Mexican identity is always put into question. His coworkers literally make him take a “Mexi-test” to see if he passes as a true Mexican. His family cracks jokes about his hipster tastes. Yet, in the face of his Caucasian boss, Chris is basically another brown dude, with a little bit of skill in the kitchen.

I can relate, like so many. I was born here. So, yes, I like Tame Impala. I like sushi. However, arroz y frijoles has my heart and so does Selena. Chris’s character represents an identity many children born to immigrant parents might sympathize with. Our struggle is we never feel like we belong, but we can take comfort in the fact that shows like “Gentefied” are shining a light on this identity. You’re not alone. If you think you need to pick a side and choose which nationality you rep more Latino or American, this show encourages you to be both and celebrate your intersectional identity.

Latina Moms

Look, I don’t want to spoil anything, but when you get to episode eight, “Women’s Work,” you’re going to get a strong urge to knock on your mom’s doors and cry-hug her. Anna’s mom on the show played by Laura Patalano is everyone’s mom. She is a queen and a true icon. She is sarcastic. She is harsh. You end up respecting her or at least sympathizing with her by the end of the series. I could write an entire book on this character.

So, should you watch “Gentified”? Yes.

Not only is the series enjoyable to watch and will keep you carcajeando like your crazy tía when she forgets to take her medicine, but the characters are very well-developed, their story arcs join up beautifully, and you will fight back tears because this show hits home emotionally. As an extra incentive, some of your favorite mitú friends make appearances in the show: shout out to Jenny Lorenzo and Scar. A special shout out to Steph O. who worked behind-the-scenes.

Get binging, cabrones. And let us know what you think.

READ: Julissa Calderon And Annie Gonzalez On How ‘Gentefied’ Is Offering Empowerment And Representation In This New TV Era

We Finally Have A First Look At The Walter Mercado Documentary ‘Mucho Mucho Amor’ And I Can’t Wait

Entertainment

We Finally Have A First Look At The Walter Mercado Documentary ‘Mucho Mucho Amor’ And I Can’t Wait

Mucho Mucho Amor / Netflix

Walter Mercado was to the Spanish-speaking world, what Miss Cleo was to the English-speaking one. Equal parts Oprah, Liberace, and Mr. Rogers, the legendary Puerto Rican psychic and astrologer captivated the Latin world with his glamorous style, gender-nonconforming persona, and warmhearted cosmic readings. Now, he is poised to reach a new level of fandom with a lovingly crafted documentary about his life and career

Our stars dimmed when we lost the great Walter Mercado last year, but with a new Netflix documentary, we get one more glimpse into the man’s flamboyant life.

It’s finally here: the first trailer for Netflix’s Mucho Mucho Amor.

Each and every day more than 120 million viewers tuned in to watch the extravagant, flamboyant Puerto Rican astrologer, psychic, and gender nonconforming artists charm the world with televised horoscopes. He enthralled his viewers with sequined capes, opulent jewelry, and shared a message of love and hope to his devoted viewers. Then, he mysteriously disappeared.

If you’re like countless tías out there, you’ve been wondering about him ever since. That’s where Mucho, Mucho Amor comes in.

Directors Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch spent the last two years of Mercado’s life documenting this icons legacy – when he grabbed with the struggles of aging.

The film also drops hints about Mercado’s financial issues and his hiatus from public life. But it also features magnificent footage from his unforgettable entrance at the opening party for HistoryMiami’s 2019 exhibit “Mucho, Mucho Amor: 50 Years of Walter Mercado.”

It’s an over-the-top moment that celebrates how many in Miami viewed him as royalty as they eagerly awaited his recommended New Year’s Eve rituals each year (customized for each Zodiac sign). It’s safe to say that Mercado captivated people’s attention, and he’ll do it once again with this documentary.

Mercado is often described as the glue that binds migrant communities from all over Latin America.

Credit: Mucho Mucho Amor / Netflix

At its peak, Mercado’s show was watched by more than 120 million viewers from around Latin America. But he was also an actor, dancer, and writer throughout his career. In fact, he starred in several Puerto Rican telenovelas, including Un adiós en el recuerdo (A Farewell to the Memory) and Larga distancia (Long Distance).

In 1970, he started his regular astrology segment on Puerto Rico’s variety show, El Show de las 12. His star continued to grow, and for decades, his astrology prediction shows aired in Puerto Rico, Latin America and the United States.

“We grew up with him,” Lin-Manuel Miranda says in the trailer for Mucho Mucho Amor. “I can’t think of an English language astrologer that would command the attention of millions of households.” 

Then, Mercado mysteriously vanished from the public eye. “Maybe he didn’t want to grow old in front of the cameras,” Eugenio Derbez speculates. 

He was also an icon for the LGBTQ community, who – especially in the Latino community – needed one so badly.

Credit: Mucho Mucho Amor / Netflix

Although Mercado was unapologetically sexually-ambiguous, many were still preoccupied with the man’s sexuality. He always took the questions and innuendo in stride though, responding with a joke that would get him off the hook with most. But he meant a lot to gay Latinos during an era where they feared coming out much more than today, just merely for existing.

Even though Mercado never publicly addressed his sexuality, he was an inspiration for many LGBTQ kids, including director Kareem Tabsch.

“I’m a queer kid from Miami and the first time I ever saw Walter on television, it was the first time I ever encountered another person who was queer,” Tabsch recalls.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, he added: “I had a simpatico. Seeing him on TV I remember thinking, ‘Huh, there’s something in you that’s like something in me. I see a reflection of me in you, even if I’d never be nearly as fabulous.’ But there was this otherness that I recognized. I felt, ‘If my family loves you just as you are then maybe they could love me as I am too.”

Although before his death he disappeared from public life somewhat unceremoniously, his legacy lives on for millions of Latinos.

Credit: Mucho Mucho Amor / Netflix

Mucho, Mucho Amor does a great job at showing the human-side of Mercado. Yes, he was a beloved television personality, for whom many, he was a literal superhero. But he was also a human, and Netflix’s new documentary will show an entirely new side of the superstar to the world.

Mucho, Mucho Amor debuts on Netflix on July 8.

Colin Kaepernick’s Life to Become Netflix Series From Ava DuVernay

Entertainment

Colin Kaepernick’s Life to Become Netflix Series From Ava DuVernay

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty

Colin Kaepernick’s life is officially getting the Hollywood treatment.

The Black NFL quarterback has announced that he has joined forces with film director Ava DuVernay for a Netflix series titled Colin in Black & White. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the scripted limited drama has been picked to go straight to series.

DuVernay’s six-episode series will take an intimate look at Kaepernick’s childhood, life in high school years, and all of the experiences that led him to become an activist today.

Kaepernick will appear in the series as himself and is set to narrate. An actor will play the younger version of Kaepernick. According to THR, “Emmy nominee Michael Starrbury will pen the script and serve as exec producer alongside DuVernay and Kaepernick. Starrbury previously teamed with DuVernay on Netflix’s Peabody-winning limited series When They See Us, based on the Central Park 5.”

Speaking about her decision to produce a film about the NFL player, DuVernay said that “With his act of protest, Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation about race and justice with far-reaching consequences for football, culture, and for him, personally. Colin’s story has much to say about identity, sports, and the enduring spirit of protest and resilience. I couldn’t be happier than to tell this story with the team at Netflix.” 

Netflix says that the drama was conceived back in 2019 and scripts were completed this past May.

The series will look at Kaepernick’s early life as a Black child growing up in a white household that adopted him all while training to become a competitive quarterback while determining his own identity.

“Too often we see race and Black stories portrayed through a white lens,” Kaepernick told THR. “We seek to give new perspective to the differing realities that Black people face. We explore the racial conflicts I faced as an adopted Black man in a white community, during my high school years. It’s an honor to bring these stories to life in collaboration with Ava for the world to see.”

“We’re proud to bring Colin’s experience and his creative vision to life as he joins Ava to share his powerful story and message with all our members around the world,” Cindy Holland, VP originals at Netflix, told THRr. “It is an unparalleled union of two strong and defining voices coming together to tell the story about what it’s like to be Black in America.”

Kaepernick’s influence on the current BLM movement is expanding.

In 2016, the football player set out to protest racial injustice, police brutality, and systematic oppression ahead of a San Francisco 49ers game by kneeling during the national anthem. His act of protest ultimately roused polarizing conversations amongst athletes, NFL officials, and fans. At the time President Trump demanded NFL team owners fire Kaepernick along with any other players who protested during the national anthem. Eventually, Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017 and filed a lawsuit against the NFL. He claimed that the organization and its owners had colluded to keep him out of the league.

In February, he signed a deal with Audible to create multiple projects, including for his upcoming memoir.