Entertainment

Jason Genao Of ‘On My Block’ Talks Growing Up On His Block And His Secret To Making Bomb Empanadas

Netflix’s coming-of-age comedy “On My Block” has been steadily gaining an audience by the passionate word-of-mouth of fans, and a string of 🔥 GIFS on social media. 

Jason Genao, one of the show’s stars, won over audiences with his character Ruby Martinez’s witty one-liners, his depth of self-awareness, and his hilarious dance moves with co-star Jessica Marie Garcia over the first two seasons of the show. 

Now, if you haven’t seen “On My Block,” we will have a few spoilers ahead for seasons 1 and 2, now that season 3 is officially out.

Before season 3 started streaming, mitú spoke with Genao in an exclusive phone interview to see how he got the inspiration for some of the show’s most pivotal scenes amd how the fictional Los Angeles neighborhood of Freeridge compares to his hometown. Oh, and he shared his secret to making some delicious empanadas.

Genao’s character Ruby left us shook after the ending of season 1. 

A tweet Genao posted on his personal Twitter account before the airing of season 2 said, “Remember that time I had you guys thinking I was dead for a whole year. Ahh commitment.” That hit some fans in the feels—but Genao said he knew he had to keep the script’s enthusiasm going.

Oh, we see you Genao, he’s got a little of a 😈 mischievous side—sounds like someone we know on OMB?

“I think in the back of my head, I knew if I ruined it, season 2 wouldn’t be good. All the suspense was held in the majority of my character whether he was alive or not, [it was a] pivotal story arch. If that would have been ruined, there would not have been as much enthusiasm,” Genao said over the phone with mitú.

“I wanted to keep this suspense in the show as great as everyone else did. I lived off of reading everyone’s tweets—seeing them all suffer for the year,” Genao added.

When it comes to diving into his character of Ruby, he goes all in, especially when it came to handling Ruby’s PTSD following the events of the first season.

“I did my research online with what happens with people who have PTSD. My cousin was shot twice. For me that kind of hit—PTSD comes in the form of however you are as a person,” Genao said of how he was able to understand the effects of PTSD.

“I had to take Ruby as a 14-year-old innocent person, who lives where he lives but never thought it would affect him,” Genao said about the performance. 

Tapping into his own personal experiences was also a vital part of capturing the trauma Ruby went through after being shot at his crush’s Quinceañera party.

Credit: Netflix

“[I] take traumatic experiences and bring them to the forefront—bring real life emotions to the performance. As an actor that is a gift—you hold on to them because of the power they can bring to the scene. I take those things and hold on to them because I need them for my job,” Genao said. 

As layered as Ruby is when it comes to dealing with life’s trauma, he’s also a 14-year-old kid navigating the same exciting ‘firsts’ of teen life—first crush, first kiss, and the first time being a teen entrepreneur. 

Ruby is a character that has it together—he can do his taxes, he has binders for plans, he has choreographed Quince dances. 

Genao assures he was *not* that put-together as a teen growing up in his Dominican family.  

“I was a mess as a teen. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, I relied on her. I definitely was not super put-together as a teenager,” Genao said with a laugh.  

Since Genao seems to embody the characteristics of Ruby down to a button-down T (with polo shorts and a backpack), it might come as a surprise to fans that he actually first read for the role of Cesar Diaz.

Credit: Netflix

“I was sent Cesar and then an hour later [they] sent me the slides for Ruby. I was more intrigued in Ruby because he had so much to say. They said you have to perfect it, so I went into this study mode and I got it down,” he said about landing the role.

Hmmm…maybe Genao and Ruby share some characteristics after all. INSERT NERD FACE EMOJI 

When it comes to Genao’s hometown of Jersey City, there are some similarities to his character’s fictional home of Freeridge. 

“Me and my brothers, we all went to the same high school, there were a lot of gangs. I remember my brother bringing people with cuts and scars and blood and I was like ‘Jesus.’ As time progressed, it got better, I guess they gentrified my neighborhood,” Genao reminisced. 

Much like Freeridge, he said Jersey City also had its teens having fun despite the violence around them. 

“It always had a festival in the summer, and had a carnival. It was really freeing, my mom was never like we HAD to be careful. I was 11-years-old walking to friends’ houses,” he continued.

Growing up in Jersey City also helped Genao appreciate a sense of diversity not seen in every bedroom community across the country.

Credit: Netflix

“Jersey City was super free and so diverse. [When I see] issues like racism or hatred of a certain community [in other places], I was baffled, that wasn’t an issue in my community. It wasn’t until I left that I realized how harsh the rest of America was,” Genao had to say about seeing a lack of diversity in some communities.  

OMB’s success with both audiences and critics can help to change the narrative of diversity in places that might not experience it as much in daily life. 

The show is proof that now diversity is having a movement—not just a moment. 

“It garners more hope—not false hope—a secure hope. We are not just a diverse show, but a successful diverse show,” Genao proudly says. 

Off-camera, Genao likes to cook in his spare time and he does not come to play when it comes to making some B-O-M-B empanadas.

“Sazón Goya and mojo—don’t play with me. Me with my Sazón,” Genao chuckled as he recounted a story where he was browsing the aisles of a market in LA, trying desperately to find the secret ingredient to his empanadas.

Of course, los mercados came through when he needed it and he found his Goya packet at a Latino market. So what’s ahead when it comes to his projects on camera?

“There are lots of things I have my eyes on, you never know. There are things coming,” he cryptically said.

Looks like Genao’s fans will be patiently anticipating what’s to come on OMB season 4 and beyond. 

READ: Netflix Is Paying The ’13 Reasons Why Cast’ More Than The ‘On My Block’ Cast Of Color, Here’s Why That’s Caca

The Trailer For ‘The Last Days Of American Crime’ Is A Pulse-Pounding Thriller You Need

Entertainment

The Trailer For ‘The Last Days Of American Crime’ Is A Pulse-Pounding Thriller You Need

Netflix / YouTube

Édgar Ramírez is one of the most handsome men in Hollywood, tbh. It helps that he is good at what he does as well. The Venezuelan actor and former journalist is in a new movie from Netflix called “The Last Days of American Crime.”

Imagine the story of the last crime ever committed in the U.S.

Netflix’s “The Last Days of American Crime” is a visual retelling of the famous graphic novel. The story is one of crime, big government, and action rolled into one film. Édgar Ramírez plays criminal Graham Bricke and he is after that proverbial last score before committing a crime in the U.S. becomes impossible.

The criminals in the movie are fighting against the implementation of a device the hinders criminals motionless. The device emits a sound that freezes them in their place preventing them from committing any crimes. Bricke experiences the device when robbing a bank and his brother dies.

The rest of the story is one of pursuing the ultimate final heist and getting revenge. The movie will leave you on the edge of your seat while you watch the criminals do everything in their power to make sure their last score is the best and most historic.

“The Last Days of American Crime” is out June 5 on Netflix.

Netflix has been delivering some stellar content with Latino actors in the leads. The trailer for “The Last Days of American Crime” promises a crime thriller with all of the emotional ups and downs you can handle.

READ: Edgar Ramirez Shocked Jimmy Fallon When He Shared Details From The Set Of ‘The Assassination Of Gianni Versace’

All Of The Documentaries Feminists Should Watch While In Quarantine

Entertainment

All Of The Documentaries Feminists Should Watch While In Quarantine

Netflix

Just because it might seem as if the world is on pause, it doesn’t mean that our efforts to learn more about it and better ourselves should be.

Documentaries alongside biographies can teach us so much about the world we live in and open our eyes to its complexities, even teaching us about the obstacles we did not know were right in front of us. As women of color, there are so many, and often times we use documentaries to learn about them, so we can better understand how to propel ourselves forward and continue to succeed. To make sure that you do too, we’re rounding up documentaries for you to learn, grow, and build hope from while in quarantine.

Check the documentaries we’re binging now that we’ve got the time below!

Becoming (2020)

Former First Lady Michelle Obama takes an intimate look at her life, relationships, and dreams in this documentary which sees her touring the country while promoting her book Becoming. The New York Times describes the film as showing “a familiar, albeit more carefree, former first lady.”

AKA Jane Roe (2020)

This documentary by Nick McSweeney highlights Norma McCorvey, the woman who made history as “Jane Roe” in the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade. Beyond the shock value of the movie’s twist, which unearths the reasons why McCorvey ultimately turned her back on the movement that advocated for her right to choose, it tells a story about the ruthlessness of political agendas.

Abuelas: Grandmothers On A Mission (2013)

Three decades after Argentinean mothers created a movement demanding Argentinean officials to discover what happened with the sons and daughters who “disappeared” during Argentina’s Dirty War, the grandmothers continue their efforts in this documentary.

Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed (2004)

The historical documentary follows Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm during her campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1972. It will serve as an impressive reminder of this Black woman’s might and the fight she managed to get us all passionate about.

Honeyland (2019)

This Oscar-nominated film is about a beekeeper in North Macedonia. Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov this documentary shows how the beekeeper’s life is affected when the ancient techniques she uses to farm bees are impacted by a new family who moves into the neighborhood and brings modern technology with them.

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (2016)

African- American poet Maya Angelou has her life depicted in the documentary that dives into her traumatic childhood and her life as a singer and dancer. The first feature documentary includes interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, and Common.

Knock Down The House (2019)

This documentary featuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the league of women who ran for Congress in 2018 including Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin, and Amy Vilela made waves when it first debuted on Netflix. Just as it did for us, we imagine it will give you a whole heck of a lot of hope and pride in the woman who fight for our rights and country.