Just like we all find ourselves binging on a variety of our favorite snacks, millennials look to Netflix for binge-worthy shows that distract them from reality for hours of the day. Some millennials take a deep interest in shows that they can relate to, especially a coming-of-age story about a group of young teens. Netflix’s, “On My Block,” isn’t just any average coming-of-age story.
“On My Block” follows a group of friends who confront the challenges of adolescence and life in their predominantly Hispanic and black neighborhood set in South Central Los Angeles. As if being a teenager isn’t hard enough, this group of friends must deal with the prejudices and stereotypes that come in their neighborhood.
The show premiered in mid-March and since its release it has created buzz across social media. It’s easy to see why the show has become a hit amongst teens and adults alike, because of its charming coming-of-age story and majority of people of color (POC) cast members.
Monse is raised by a single father, and comes from a black-hispanic background. She is willing to do anything she can to keep her friends together but also fights against her love for Cesar. Cesar, who comes from a hispanic background, deals with trying to be a normal teen who wants to hangout with the group but is torn when he is forced into gang life. Ruby, also hispanic, is a sweet young gentleman and underappreciated friend who is insecure and cares what others think. He is determined to win Olivia’s heart. Olivia is seen as the misfit, and moves in with Ruby and his family after her parents are deported. Jamal, who comes from an African-American background is the neurotic, nerdish one of the group who can’t keep secrets and doesn’t want to be a disappointment to his parents.
The show has become popular due to its diversity and lead roles focused on POC. However, some viewers were crushed to discover that actress Ronnie Hawk, who plays Olivia, is not Hispanic as portrayed in the show. Not to mention that Hawk is a Trump supporter.
Questions were stirred on whether or not the casting director could find a Mexican actress to play the role of a Mexican character. White people playing roles of ethnicities and races they know nothing about is insulting especially to POC who know what it’s like when someone refers to stereotypes that target a specific race, culture or even demographics.
Many found the irony behind the fact that Hawk’s character, Olivia, is a young hispanic girl who moves into a family friend’s home after her parents are deported. In reality, Hawk is from a white background and supports Trump, the United States President who cares less about those of different races.
The challenges faced when living in a neighborhood where gang members hangout, makes it difficult to go about your day when you’re just taking a stroll down the sidewalk or walking out of a liquor store.
All ten episodes are full of humor as well as a little romance, but let’s get to the ending that takes a surprising turn and leaves you both in awe and shock. Just as we see the group of friends enjoying a night, dancing, sharing a moment, we see Ruby’s smile fade away as he witnesses someone walking towards the group, holding a gun. As Ruby pulls Olivia in towards him, he yells, “Cesar!” In the last few seconds a gun is fired, leaving two bleeding out on the floor at a Quinceñera backyard party.
The burning questions is, will these two characters make it? Where does the shooter disappear to?
Aside from the controversy behind Ronnie Hawk portraying a Mexican character, the shows cliffhanger of episode ten definitely left me hungry for more. This series deserves an A!
If you’ve binged on “On My Block,” and are dying to know what will happen next, have no fear. The show has been renewed for season 2!