Entertainment

Starz Is Giving The Story Of Gentrification In Boyle Heights A Different Spin With Their Show ‘Vida’

Latino representation on television has usually been a slippery slope of stereotypes or false portrayals of what it really means to be Latino in America. Yet Starz’s new half-hour series “Vida” feels like something new and refreshing in the world of scripted TV. The show focuses on two sisters Emma (Mishel Prada) and Lyn (Melissa Barrera) as they return to their home in quickly changing Boyle Heights after their mom’s death.

The six episode series represents a side of Latinos that are rarely shown on mainstream television.

“Vida” joins other Latino-centered shows on television, including “Narcos,” “One Day at a Time,” “Queen of the South” and “Jane the Virgin.” However, it stands on its own with its fresh perspective on the Latinx experience living in Los Angeles. The show tackles topics like class, gentrification and homophobia. The show is a snapshot of our diverse culture that mainstream television rarely captures.

“Vida” is making waves with its Creator Tanya Saracho and her all Latinx writers.

Saracho is the creator and executive producer of “Vida” and after writing for other popular shows like “Devious Maids,” “Looking,” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” she truly found her calling. She felt she could finally tell stories on TV that were relevant to her own experiences. By having an entire Latinx writing staff, Saracho is paving a way for representation that goes beyond just the screen but the writers room that Hollywood rarely has found.

Fans and critics are already praising the show for its fresh representation.

After premiering on May 6, the show already has a solid fan base and has been praised for its characters and plot. It already has a 100 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Vida” is currently streaming for free on Starz.com, the Starz YouTube channel and the “Vida” Facebook page.

The show captures many themes that most Latinx can relate to, whether it’s the fight for representation in their own community, the feeling of not being “Mexican enough’ in your own family and finding one’s identity. “Vida” is a landmark moment in Latino television that hopefully paves the way for more shows that capture more than just stereotypes but the true Latinx experience in America.


READ: These 11 Moments From ‘On My Block’ Are Some Of The Realest Latino Moments Captured On Film

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This New Barbie Doll Has Vitiligo—A Skin Condition That Isolated Children For Years, And They’re Finally Getting The Representation They Deserve

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This New Barbie Doll Has Vitiligo—A Skin Condition That Isolated Children For Years, And They’re Finally Getting The Representation They Deserve

Mattel / Twitter

The maker of the iconic Barbie doll just announced the launch of a lineup of diverse dolls featuring new skin tones, wheelchairs, and body types. The latest Barbie additions are a doll with the skin condition Vitiligo and another with a gold prosthetic leg —and we’re here for all this diversity. 

“More skin tones! More body types! More unique looks” read the caption.

The new Barbie pals doll be part of the Fashionistas collection and it’s being labeled as the American toy company’s most diverse line.

“What makes us different, makes us beautiful”

The line features dolls with vitiligo, no hair, darker skin tones, in a wheelchair and a wide range of body types. These dolls are part of Barbie’s 2020 releases for its Fashionistas line, which, over the past five years, has introduced more than 170 looks showcasing different identities around the world in hopes of representing global diversity and inclusivity, according to a press release from Mattel. 

Mattel launched a new Barbie doll with the condition vitiligo, which causes pigmentation loss in the skin. 

To create the doll with vitiligo, Barbie worked with a dermatologist to ensure the condition was accurately portrayed. Viitiligo causes patches of skin to lose their pigment. Mattel said in a statement that a prototype of the vitiligo toy, which debuted on the Barbie Instagram page last year, became its most “liked” post ever.

Speaking of the Barbie with no hair, the company said:

“If a girl is experiencing hair loss for any reason, she can see herself reflected in the line.”

Last year, a doll with a prosthetic leg and another with a wheelchair joined the Fashionistas range. 

The then 12-year-old Jordan Reeves, who co-founded the nonprofit Born Just Right — which develops “creative solutions that help kids with disabilities live a more enjoyable life” — helped inspire a doll with a prosthetic limb. Barbie’s 2019 Fashionistas line was also the first time it included a doll that uses a wheelchair.  Other dolls in the 2019 Fashionistas line offered a variety of appearances, including braided hair texture and more realistic body types (smaller bust, less defined waist and more defined arms).

On Twitter people are happy about the new dolls.

Some are excited to see themselves reflected in Barbie form for the first time. “Heeeyy! That’s pretty sweet. I’ve had #vitiligo since I was little, and no one knew what it was,” wrote one Twitter user, “In recent years, I’ve seen high fashion models with it, and now this.. very cool.”

People with Vitiligo are finally feeling seen

Visibility for vitiligo is getting better thanks to models like Winnie Harlow and Amy Deanna. Due in large part to recent exposure to vitiligo through mainstream media, general understanding about and attitudes toward this condition are changing.

Perhaps the most well-known current face of vitiligo is Chantelle Brown-Young

The black fashion model, activist, and vitiligo spokesperson is also known professionally as Winnie Harlow. Winnie was diagnosed with vitiligo in childhood, and she revealed she was teased and bullied and at one point contemplated suicide. “The continuous harassment and the despair that [vitiligo] brought on my life was so unbearably dehumanizing that I wanted to kill myself,” she disclosed.

After competing on America’s Next Top Model in 2014, Winnie Harlow became a household name.

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Stargazing 🔭

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Winnie redefined global standards of beauty and, in her own words, accepting the differences that make us unique and authentic. She went on to speak at the Dove Self-Esteem Project panel at the 2015 Women in the World London Summit and was presented with the Role Model award at the Portuguese GQ Men of the Year event that same year.

Fashion brand Missguided unveiled a diverse range of mannequins in 2018—including one with Vitiligo. 

The collection of mannequins included female figures of different ethnicities, in addition to highlighting skin conditions such as stretch marks and vitiligo.

Mattel is leading the charge for representation in the toy industry.

The American toy maker has incorporated more diversity in its Barbie range by offering dolls with different skin shades, eye colors, hairstyles and clothing. In 2017, the company introduced the first Barbie to wear a hijab.

Though Barbie dolls have long been overwhelmingly white and skinny, Barbie has made strides during the past five years to diversify. 

Previously, Barbie dolls have drawn criticism for upholding a slim, white, domestic ideal. In 2019 though, more than half its doll selections were inclusive. According to a Mattel spokesperson, since 2015, the more than 170 new looks for Barbie have included 5 body types, 22 skin tones, 76 hair styles, 94 hair colors, and 13 eye colors. 

Consumers have largely responded to these choices enthusiastically.

A curvy black Fashionista with an afro hairstyle was the top-selling doll during almost every week in 2019. “We are proud that Barbie is the most diverse doll line on the market that continues to evolve to better reflect the world girls see around them,” says Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie and its dolls portfolio. 

The New ‘Saved by the Bell’ Reboot Announced That It Has Cast Trans Actress Josie Totah

Entertainment

The New ‘Saved by the Bell’ Reboot Announced That It Has Cast Trans Actress Josie Totah

Netflix

School at Bayside High is back in session! This time, the role of the most popular kid in school won’t be the infamous blonde-headed boy heartthrob Zack Morris. Instead, the role of the kid to rule the school is being taken on by Josie Totah.

The 18-year-old American actress is set to play Lexi on NBC’s reboot of “Saved By the Bell.”

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🚽 pants = @revolve

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According to Deadline, Totah is signed to join the original series cast members, including Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez, in the NBC Universal’s streaming platform Peacock. A statement by Deadline says that “Totah will play Lexi, a beautiful, sharp-tongued cheerleader and the most popular girl at Bayside High who is both admired and feared by her fellow students.”

According to reports, th new series, which acts as more of a sequel than a reboot, is set to follow Zack Morris as a California Gov. who comes under fire after closing too many low-income schools. To remedy the situation he sends displaced students to higher-performing schools including Bayside High.

Totah’s casting role is big news and history in the making because of it what it means for the trans community. 

Totah first gained attention as an actor when she started in the short-lived Mindy Kaling series “Champions.” AT the time, Totah had not come out as trans. She ultimately did so in an essay for Time Magazine writing “When I was really young, growing up in a small town in Northern California, people would just assume I was gay. On the playground, I was the type of kid who wanted to sing with the girls, not play soccer with the boys. Then I found myself playing that role once I got into the entertainment industry, and people kept assuming my identity. Numerous reporters have asked me in interviews how it feels to be a young gay man. I was even introduced that way before receiving an award from an LGBTQ+ rights organization. I understand that they didn’t really know better. I almost felt like I owed it to everybody to be that gay boy. But that has never been the way I think of myself.”

Totah went onto say that she planed on going off to college and continuing her acting career saying “I plan to play roles I haven’t had the opportunity to play. And I can only imagine how much more fun it’s going to be to play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy. I’m going to gun for those roles, be it a transgender female or a cisgender female. Because it’s a clean slate — and a new world.”

Strangely, Totah is set to star along Mario Lopez, who was criticized late last year for anti-transgender comments in June.

Speaking in an interview on the “The Candace Owens Show” Lopez said that it was “dangerous” for parents of children as young as three years old to permanently label their kids as transgender.“I’m kind of blown away, too,” Lopez said in the interview with Owens. “I’m never one to tell anyone how to parent their kids, obviously, and I think if you come from a place of love, you really can’t go wrong, but at the same time, my God, if you’re 3 years old and you’re saying you’re feeling a certain way or you think you’re a boy or a girl or whatever the case may be, I just think it’s dangerous as a parent to make that determination.”

Following the backlash, the actorapologized in a statement sent to The Advocate. “The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were,” he told the outlet at the time. 

Lopez took a day off of work from “Extra” following the backlashed he received even after his public apology and returned to work later that week. At the time, producers over at “Extra,” where Lopez acts currently as a host, did release a statement that same week saying: “While we have enjoyed a long relationship with Mario Lopez, who we know to be a caring person, the opinions he expressed in this interview do not reflect those of Extra. We wholeheartedly embrace our friends from the LGBTQ community and believe they need support and love.”

GLAAD, a non-profit media monitoring organization founded by LGBT people, also weighed in on Lopez’s comments and the repercussions they have. The organization says that experts have long previously discredited Lopez’s claims. 

“Medical and psychological experts and parents of children who are transgender have long discredited the ideas that @MarioLopezExtra shared. The real dangerous action is when someone with a public platform uses bad science to speak against a vulnerable group of children.”

Here’s hoping Lopez behaves appropriately on set while working with his new co-star.