Netflix show brings diversity to the industry

'On My Block' sheds light on inner-city life for teenagers

Fair+use+photo+from+Netflix

Fair use photo from Netflix

Amaia Barajas

When I first heard of this show, I thought it was going to be another cheesy Netflix teen show, but thank God it wasn’t. Instead of the usual obnoxious and tacky characters some teen shows generate, “On My Block” is able to show dynamic characters with new, talented actors.

“On My Block” takes place in the fictional city of Freeridge in Los Angeles and follows four best friends starting high school together. It kicks off with the only girl in the group, Monse (Sierra Capri) coming back from camp at the end of summer and finding that things weren’t as she left them. One of her friends, Cesar (Diego Tinoco) joined the Santos gang, which is made up of most of the men in his family. Monse and her other friends Ruby (Jason Genao) and Jamal (Brett Gray) try and get him out of the gang.

The show is a very refreshing Netflix original since it shows diversity that was lacking in the TV industry. Every character comes from a different background, and they all have their differences, yet they are relatable for each other and the audience. Whether they come from a single-parent home or have many different people in their house, each character has a storyline the viewer can relate to.

What really struck me about this show was how real it was. It showed real narratives of people of color living in inner-cities. While sharing the stories of these young people, it never resorts to using stereotypes of black or latino people. “On My Block” is a show about teenagers going to school, finding their first love and keeping their friendship strong. The show is incredibly important because it lets young people of color feel seen as multidimensional people and not just a stereotype.

The one thing that is not my favorite is the secondary character Olivia (Ronni Hawk). She was an unnecessary addition to the story and was only there to mess things up in the friend group. It was recently discovered that the actress who plays Olivia is actually white or white-passing. This is incredibly disappointing because it still goes to show that white people are getting cast as characters that were supposed to be for a person of color. She also has a horrendous accent when speaking Spanish that made me cringe so much I had to mute the TV.

All in all this is a great show that I would highly recommend to everyone. The show is also an easy watch with ten episodes, each spanning 30 minutes and it was just renewed for a season two, so start season one now so you’re all caught up.

 

Rating: 4/5