Entertainment

Latinas Are Getting Nostalgic on Twitter After Seeing that Disney+ is Streaming ‘Gotta Kick it Up’

It is possible that Disney has, yet again, out-done itself. On Tuesday, Disney finally launched its much-anticipated streaming service Disney+, the subscription-based platform that is set to release over 600 titles to their customers for $6.99 a month. The buzz around this service has long been building, with people expressing their excitement at the release of their long-forgotten childhood favorites since Disney+’s Twitter account tweeted out all of the titles that would become available on its launch.

For nostalgic millennials who grew up watching Disney Channel Original Movies, the premiere of this service has been nothing short of life-changing. People are taking to their social media feeds to express their excitement over forgotten favorites like “Smart House”, “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century”, and “Don’t Look Under the Bed”. But the movie that Latinas are most excited about re-watching? “Gotta Kick It Up”. 

For those of you who need a refresher, “Gotta Kick it Up” was a 2002 Disney Channel original movie that starred America Ferrera.

The movie follows a group of middle school girls who are trying to form a dance team in Los Angeles in the face of budget cuts. Scrambling for a coach, the girls turn to their biology teacher, Ms. Bartlett, to whip them into shape. Like any underdog tale, the aspiring dance team starts off as a mess, but with a lot of hard work, the girls soon start to believe in themselves. Through the course of the movie, the girls learn how to put their differences aside and work together to eventually qualify for nationals. 

The Disney Channel movie was notable for not only having a primarily Latinx cast (which is a rarity even today), but for featuring baby-faced versions of successful Latina actresses like America Ferrera and Camille Guaty. Not only that, but the movie’s climax featured a rad dance scene that little girls everywhere tried to imitate in their living rooms (seriously–look it up).

“Gotta Kick It Up” was groundbreaking for its depiction of Latinx life that wasn’t centered on harmful stereotypes or cliche stories.

The movie was written by Meghan Cole, and was based on her experience as a Teach for America teacher at Nimitz Middle School in Huntington Park, Los Angeles. The decision to make these Latina students normal teens was a deliberate choice, according to Cole. “I wanted to have a Latino movie, with Latino kids doing great things,” she told The New York Times. “Not being stereotypical kids creating havoc”. Cole also expressed her desire for the movie to “portray positive teenage Latino role models and stress the importance of after-school programs”. 

But arguably “Gotta Kick It Up”‘s greatest legacy was teaching a legion of youngsters the phrase “Sí, se puede!” as well as the history behind it. At one point during the movie, the girls are doubting themselves and their chances of winning the upcoming dance competition. In response, Daisy, the movie’s protagonist, tells the girls a brief history of her grandmother’s involvement in the Chicano movement and tells them about how Cesar Chavez’s rallying cry “Sí, se puede!” served to strengthen and unify the Mexican-American community. Throughout the movie, the girls repeat the phrase whenever they’re happy, doubtful, or scared. 

Of course, Latinas on Twitter are not hesitating to shout from the rooftops the the return of “Gotta Kick It Up” to our TV screens.

It’s always exciting to be reminded of something that was so integral to your childhood that you may have forgotten about. The fact that Latinas can watch this movie again, as well as share it with a younger generation, is worth celebrating.

This Latina gave the entire Twitterverse a very informative PSA about Disney+’s movie catalog: 

https://twitter.com/_hadaaa/status/1194345273138597888?s=20

Not all heroes wear capes.

This person had very specific requirements for the conditions under which they’d pull out their wallet for yet ANOTHER streaming service:

Honestly, the service could cost $50 a month and we would shell out the money for a chance to be able to watch this cinematic masterpiece on repeat.

This person knows that his money is being spent on only the most important things in life:

Sometimes, you’ve got to be honest with yourself and decide what your priorities are in life. And sometimes, those priorities are binge-watching Disney Channel Original Movies all day.

This Latina became emotional about the impact that “Gotta Kick It Up” had on her when she was younger:

Yet somehow, it’s frustrating to know that not that much project has been made for Latinx representation in the media almost 15 years later.

Ariana Grande And Ellen Pompeo Break Their Silence Over Gabrielle Union’s Firing From ‘America’s Got Talent’

Entertainment

Ariana Grande And Ellen Pompeo Break Their Silence Over Gabrielle Union’s Firing From ‘America’s Got Talent’

American actress Gabrielle Union has had a 26-year long career in the entertainment industry. As a Black woman, the 47-year old actress has proven to be one of the most successful actors in her industry. She started her carer in minor roles working her way up from teen movies like “10 Things I Hate About You” to lead roles in films like “Bring it On” and “Deliver Us From Eva.” In recent years, she has also put herself at the forefront of activist movements in and outside of entertainment, speaking up for survivors of assault and frequently commenting on events that have sparked Black Lives Matter interests. When it comes to race, the actress has been particularly vocal. That’s why when reports that the actress had been fried from her work on the show “America’s Got Talent” we weren’t too surprised when it was reported that it was because she had vocalized concerns about racist incidents that had occurred on set.

According to recent reports, Union was let go from her role as a judge on “America’s Got Talent” after she spoke out against racism that had occurred on set.

According to Variety, Union’s firing comes at the hands of two incidents out of several in particular. One included a complaint by Union after comedian Jay Leno made a racist joke about Koreans. According to Variety  “in April of this year, former late-night host Jay Leno visited NBCUniversal in Los Angeles to appear as a guest judge on the network’s unscripted program “America’s Got Talent,” a variety show that seeks out undiscovered musicians, performers, and other quirky artists. On the second floor of a production building on the North Hollywood lot, Leno taped an interstitial segment in the presence of show judges including Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough. While taping, Leno made a crack about a painting on display in a hallway of Simon Cowell, the show’s executive producer and judge, surrounded by his dogs. Leno joked that the pets looked like something one would find “on the menu at a Korean restaurant.”

The joke, which perpetuated stereotypes about Asian cultures consuming dog meat, reportedly upset Union who told producers to report the joke to human resources at NBC. Variety says in their report the incident was “never escalated to that department.”

Other outlets have reported that Union had received numerous notes about her physical appearance including criticism of her hair. According to Variety, “Union was subjected to a very specific critique — that her rotating hairstyles were “too black” for the audience of “AGT,” a note she received over half a dozen times, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the exchanges who spoke on the condition of anonymity. One network insider disputed the volume of notes, saying there was only feedback about hair continuity for both judges.”

While Union has yet to give a statement about the incidents, other actors are speaking out on her behalf and SAG-AFTRA has reportedly launched an official investigation into her exit.

According to a report by Deadline, sources within SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) ” take issues of workplace health and safety very seriously. We immediately reached out to Ms. Union’s representatives when these reports came to light. It is our practice to work closely with members who reach out to us and their representatives in instances like this, as that usually affords the best protection and best resolution for the affected member.”

In response to the news, actress such as Debra Messing and Ellen Pompeo and singer Ariana Grande have spoken in defense of Union.

In a seperate tweet about the incident, Pompeo called out white actresses for not standing “with your sisters on the front lines” and “cut side deals.” While she never named any actresses in particular many have speculated that she was speaking about Julianne Hough, who worked with Union on the series and was also fired recently. However in a recent statement to Variety claimed that she “had a wonderful time on America’s Got Talent, I loved working with the cast, crew, and producers. I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC.”

In a seperate tweet of her own, Grande thanked Pompeo for highlighting the incident and encouraged NBC to “be better.”

Hough is set to star alongside her brother in two Christmas specials for the network this month including “Holidays With the Houghs.”

Four New Shows From Latin America Will Soon Be On HBO And Here Are The Ones We’re Most Excited About

Entertainment

Four New Shows From Latin America Will Soon Be On HBO And Here Are The Ones We’re Most Excited About

Entre Hombres / HBO

HBO has decided to expand its Latin American catalog by adding four new shows aimed at Spanish-speaking audiences. The new programs all seem to vary in subject matter with some focusing on LGBTQ issues and others on criminal underbellies or counter-terrorism. The slate will launch in conjunction with six new English-speaking series on the network. 

 “[2020] will be a year in which we will concentrate even more on subscribers’ experiences with the brand, especially in the digital environment,” Gustavo Grossman, vice president of HBO Latin America, told the Digital Weekly

According to Variety, the company decided to continue to broaden the scope of their Latin American content due to a hit Colombian documentary it produced called Guerras Ajenas, along with a recent International Emmy winner for the scripted series Sr. Avila

So here’s what you can look forward to in the new year. 

Entre Hombres

Entre Hombres is a 4-episode mini-series based on the novel by Argentinian author Germán Maggiori. The story takes place in 1996 in Buenos Aires and will center around a senator who covers up a murder during a time of great social division. The show will star Gabriel ‘El Puma’ Goity, Nicolás Furtado, Diego Velázquez, Diego Cremonesi and Claudio Rissi.

“At HBO we continue betting on good stories. In this sense, Argentina has always been a source of talent and inspiration for our productions. Entre Hombres is a visceral piece and we are very proud with this new project that will enable us to take this magnificent cult novel to a big audience on the screen of HBO,” said Roberto Ríos, VP Corporate Original Production at HBO Latin America.

The production will be made in collaboration with Pol-ka and the series will be directed by Pablo Fendrik who previously directed El Jardin de Bronce. Author Maggiori will adapt the book for television. 

Mil Colmillos

HBO will launch its first show in Colombia Mil Colmillos in partnership with Rhayuela Films. The series will focus on a military mission to thwart a rogue squad roaming the Colombian jungles. The popular director of suspense thrillers, like El Paramo and Siete Cabezas will co-direct with Pablo Gonzale. 

They will film eight one-hour episodes in various locations in Colombia including Bogota and the Amazon jungle, according to Variety. The series will have a high production value, indicating HBO is willing to invest in Latin American content to broaden its audience. 

Todxs Nosotrxs

The new HBO series set in Brazil will follow Rafa, an 18-year-old non-binary person who is pansexual. Rafa decides to leave their family and move to Sao Paulo. Claro Gallo will portray Rafa and star alongside Kelner Macedo, Juliana Gerais, and Golda Nomacce. 

Patria

The series adapted from Spanish author Fernando Aramburu’s novel Patria is technically an HBO Europe production, but is still aimed at Spanish-speaking audience nonetheless. The series will be eight parts and written by Aitor Gabilondo and directed by Venice-winning Pablo Trapero and Goya-winning Félix Viscarret.

Set in Spanish Basque County the story will span over thirty years, following two families divided by the separatist terrorism of ETA. It will center around Bittori whose husband is murdered by ETA and her friendship with Miren, whose son is a member of the ETA. 

“I’ve dedicated almost a year to adapt Patria for TV. Now, it’s time to bring these characters to life and recreate the painful past reflected in this work of fiction. That the wounds of this recent history are still open in the Basque Country fuels my commitment and forces me to sharpen my sensibility,” said writer Gabilondo.

Antony Root, EVP of Original Programming and Production, HBO Europe told Deadline that he believed that while the story may take place during a specific political backdrop it is largely a universal one. 

“A personal, human story that unfolds against the backdrop of political violence in the Basque country, and which explores themes of grief, community and forgiveness, Patria is at once acutely local and affectingly universal,” Root said. “That we have such an outstanding creative team to bring it to life is testament to our ambition for the series, and its appeal to both Spanish and international audiences.  It is the perfect project to kick-off HBO Europe’s drama slate in Spain.”

The series began shooting in Northern Span this year and like the other series will premiere in 2020, though no premiere dates have been set yet. 

“Luckily, HBO has enabled me to be surrounded by an exceptional technical and artistic crew who share the same commitment. To me, Patria is not only the challenge of adapting a powerful and moving novel that has reached readers all over the world. It’s also a personal journey which, through these characters, takes me back to the toughest years of ETA that made such an impact on my youth,” Gabilondo.