K-Pop and Latin America

Music2Have you even heard of K-Pop? If you have, it is more than the songs of PSY, the solo artist whose song “Gangnam Style” went viral with over 2 billion views on YouTube. K-Pop is more about Korean culture and the artists, and, the most surprising thing, is that K-Pop has a high popularity in Latin America — specifically, Peru and Chile.

The are many reasons why K-Pop is now rising to popularity. From the catchy tunes and the artists’ good looks, but the success of K-Pop is also attributed to their personalities and the numerous behind-the-scenes documentaries. Korean dramas, also called K-dramas, has immensely helped K-Pop become bigger in Latin America, since singers often appear both in the music and acting industry.

Almost all K-dramas are subbed in Spanish by the fans themselves in order to share their love of Korean culture. In fact, K-Pop continues to be so popular that in 2013 some Peruvian barbers were offering K-Pop inspired haircuts!

Maria Gonzalez, 16, explains why she loves K-Pop, “I like it so much because of their music are so fun and upbeat to hear. They’re much more modest and it’s not that sexual like American pop music.”

“It also helps that they are so handsome and beautiful,” adds Maria.

It might seem confusing for Latin American fans to listen to K-Pop where the language and their culture are so different from each theirs. But some might be surprised at the two main similarities: family and language.

Within Korean culture, family is very important as it is not unusual for young people to continue to live with their families until they are married, which is usually not until their 30s. This might seem familiar with Latino culture as families are generally filled with parents, children, grandparents, with even aunts and uncles.

In addition,  both Korean and Spanish share deep respect for elders just as Latinos do, so language is important. For example, we have had to have a mood of communication where are you words to those above us the chance to send the word usted to a professor.

“They might speak and sing in a different language,” says Marissa Montes, “But us fans feel the happy energy and charisma of our favorite group and artists. This is literally the case of when music has no boundaries.”

Whether you are into Korean culture, K-Pop is worth giving a shot. Bands like BOYFRIEND, JYJ, super Junior, Big Bang, and 2NE1 are worth a listen.

What’s the big deal about ‘Jane the Virgin’?

Jane The VirginBy now you have probably heard about the hit TV show ‘Jane the Virgin’, starring Gina Rodriguez as the titular star. The show, which is based off a Venezuelan telenovela called ‘Juana la Virgen’, debuted in the fall of 2014 on the CW. It is set in Miami, a city known for its lively Latino culture, and features a largely Hispanic cast and much Spanish-language dialogue. The sitcom immediately took the airwaves and the awards season by storm, and Gina herself won this year’s Golden Globe for Best Actress.

So why is this new show so explosively successful? For one, the premise and main character are in stark contrast with many other shows popular among preteen and teenage girls. Jane is, like the title says, a virgin who is waiting until marriage to have sex. The show explains early on that her reason for this decision is multifold: She is Catholic, she does not want to get pregnant before marriage, and she deeply respects her grandmother who taught her the values behind waiting to have sex. But Jane is no goody-two-shoes: She is a normal 23 year old woman who is both studying to become a teacher and working as a waitress at a posh hotel. Also, she has a boyfriend of two years whom she plans to marry.

She ‘miraculously’ becomes pregnant after a visit to the doctor’s office, where her gynecologist mistakenly artificially inseminated her. When she discovers what happened her life is thrown into turmoil. Her boyfriend, who had just recently asked her to marry him, tells her he does not want to raise another man’s child. Her mother is grief-stricken that her daughter will become a single mother like she did. Jane is horrified that the father of the child, Rafael, is a notorious playboy and also the owner of the hotel where she works.

But Jane’s miraculous pregnancy is only a small part of the whole show. The first season is laced with intrigue, as people are mysteriously murdered at the hotel and Rafael’s wife attempts to get custody of the unborn child. Jane also finally meets her own father, whose identity has been kept a secret her entire life. The one constant in Jane’s life, however, is her own integrity. Though she is often overwhelmed by the pregnancy and the drama that has turned her life upside down, she maintains her pure heart and her desire to pursue her dreams. She does not quite her job or school when she falls pregnant, but continues to work hard to achieve her goals. Throughout, she is loving to her mother and grandmother even when they disagree on how she should live her life. She is compassionate towards Rafael despite the fact that she does not want to have his child. But just as importantly Jane is never a doormat. She openly asserts her wants and needs and she protests when others attempt to manipulate her. Jane is truly a new sort of sitcom heroine, one whom is not ashamed of her beliefs and consistently acts with intelligence and empathy.

And what makes Jane’s character even better is the fact that she and her close-knit family deeply embrace Latino culture and values. Of Venezuelan descent, they often speak Spanish [with subtitles] and openly practice their Catholic faith. They exhibit a truth about the US’s Hispanic population that is often ignored by mainstream media: we are growing and flourishing and possess strong beliefs and character. Latinas are proud to have Jane as part of our ranks! And we can’t wait to see what adventures the second season of her show will bring!

The Immigrant Struggle in ‘Boyhood’

11189929_ori‘Boyhood,’ the 2014 film that spans twelve years of a boy’s life, from age 6 to 18, won Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes.  The acclaimed movie takes the audience through the growing-up process of Mason, a boy living in Texas with divorced parents. Throughout the film there are a couple scenes that prominently feature Hispanics. The first features a teenaged Latina girl who appears with Mason’s sister as they flip through fashion magazines after school. The second Latino portrayed is a Mexican immigrant who does some work for Mason’s mother on her new home. Mason’s mother recommends that he go to school. A few years later he comes up to her at a restaurant to tell her that he took her advice, got a degree, and is about to be promoted to a managerial position at his job.

Latinitas provided me with the opportunity to attend a Google Fiber Q&A session with the film’s main actor, Ellar Coltrane, who plays the role of the boy Mason. While there I asked Ellar why he believes the Hispanic immigrant’s role was included in the film.

He had two answers for me. Firstly, because the film takes place in Texas it just wouldn’t make sense if no Hispanics were featured, particularly those who recently immigrated. Secondly, the Hispanic immigrant provides a direction comparison to Mason’s mother, a single mother struggling to support two children. Both immigrants and single mothers, Ellar said, battle difficulties in achieving their dreams for themselves.

Most would agree with Ellar that a Texan film should present Hispanics to be credible. After all, recent statistics from the United States Census Bureau show that Texas is about 40% Hispanic. Pew Research Center demographics show that 88% of those Hispanics are Mexican, while almost half of all Texan Hispanics were born in their native countries.

Most would also agree that both single mothers and immigrants face financial and social difficulties that others do not. While the factors vary greatly, depending on the unique situation of the individual, both single mothers and immigrants occupy spaces outside of traditional society that create or complicate difficulties. Single mothers struggle to take on both their maternal role and an additional financial one. Immigrants, thrust into a starkly different country, must adapt to a new job, a new language, a new culture entirely.

However, after Mason’s mother suggests Enrique go to school he does not reappear until years later, when he is all smiles and boasting of his achievement. His brief explanation leaves the viewer with unanswered questions, wondering about the difficulties not portrayed in the film. How did Enrique pay for school? How did he balance work and study? Did he have a family at home needing immediate financial support? Did he struggle to understand and read English? Was he undocumented, and if so how did it complicate his schooling and career search? These are but a few examples of real-life scenarios that could have affected Enrique as he pursued his dreams. So while it’s glad that Enrique took the advice of Mason’s mother I’m aware that ‘Boyhood’ did not portray the many struggles he must have faced along the way.  ‘Boyhood’ is not a film about an immigrant’s triumph over struggle. I get that. Still, the simplistic picture painted of Enrique’s success reminds me that for those Americans unfamiliar with the struggles faced by immigrants, the movie did little to educate them further. Nonetheless it’s never a bad thing to portray the American success story of a Hispanic immigrant.

Review: Spare Parts

 213957Spare Parts, directed by Sean McNamara, is a film that was released in theaters in January 2015 and is now available for purchase. The movie stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Alexa Vega, Carlos Pena, and George Lopez, who is also a producer.

Spare Parts is based on a true story about a group of Latino high school boys who join an engineering club. These boys, with the support and guidance from their teacher Fredi Cameron (George Lopez), strive to build a robot that they hope to enter into a robotics competition in which they would face-off with championing schools such as MIT and Stanford. Winning this competition means beating the odds, though, because these students have practically no funding and a limited amount of resources in order to get the job done.

Although science and robotics is one of the reasons why this rag-tag team formed, it is not the only theme within the movie. This film covers the heart-warming bases like family and friendship as well. However, this film does not shy away from the hard-hitting issues that can be relevant in the lives of hard-working Latin American families in the Southwest United States. Carlos Pena’s character, Oscar Vasquez, hopes to join the U.S. Army, but his plans come to a halt when he learns that he cannot do so as an undocumented immigrant. Undocumented immigration, financial struggles, and tough life choices are the foundation for a film like this, a film about how dedication and ambition can take you places you wouldn’t have thought possible.

Spare Parts is definitely a film worth checking out! It is well paced, running just under 2 hours. The plotline is easy to follow but not without its shocks and surprises throughout that will make you want to lean just a little bit closer to the screen, wondering…who is at the door, who is on the phone, who will win the grand prize?

La Malinche Book Review

La Malinche, or actually Malinalli, was not the Aztec princess legend says.malinche She was royalty in the Aztec empire, but was discarded by her mother as a baby out of preference to her siblings and dodged being sacrificed upon the intervention of her loving and mystical grandmother who raised her. Well, so relays acclaimed author Laura Esquivel who is writing about a legendary character born in a time when public record was chiseled rather than written. Esquivel brought us one of the most adored narratives in Latino literature: “Like Water for Chocolate,” a novel also became an award-winning movie.

La Malinche tells us the story of a young woman finding out who she really is through the power of language.  And, though it is set in the late 1500s, early 1600s, it’s as timeless as any story about a girl finding her power in her own voice, beliefs and self.

If you are not familiar with La Malinche, legend says she is the mother of all Mexico, or, for many, she is also remembered as the destroyer of all Mexico .  La Malinche, represented by the character Malinalli in Esquivel’s book, was multi-lingual and could translate Nahuatl of her elders to Spanish and vice versa. As a result, she gained the fondness of Spanish conquerer Hernán Cortes.  In Esquivel’s story it’s clear Cortes is drawn to Malinalli, but we are not sure if it is his bloodthirst for power that drives his admiration. Feeling discarded by her mother, Malinalli gains worth in Cortes’ troops as a translator and in a romance with him that produces beloved children of her own.

But, after Cortes repeatedly uses her to conquer and kill the native people of Mexico, she sees him more for the short, unhappy, power hungry villain that earned the nickname early on: La Malinche, in which she was named for.  It is so rare we get to read a story of Mexican or any Latino history from the point of view of a girl. It is also rare to get a whole sensory experience in a book and Esquivel is all about revealing tastes, smells and what a time feels like. Malinalli shares that the Spanish soldiers reek of the garlic they eat and don’t bathe often.  Though we have perceptions of “primitive” life, such as that of the tribes that existed in what is now Mexico and that Spain was “developed” or “advanced,” in just a few short lines we realize native peoples of America were leaps ahead of their European visitors – even if it was just about good hygiene.

What I most loved about this book which I’d recommend any teen reader is how La Malinche is not demonized in this story as she is in most accounts. She is made human. We find out her need for human love, the rejection of her mothers’ love and her place as a girl in a society where human sacrifices were necessary and common. We learn about her bravery, contributions to Mexican history and a broader picture of who Malinalli (La Malinche) was.

Book Review: Finding Miracles

“Finding Miracles” started off as what seemed to be just a novel about a girl in Vermont, and it grew into a beautiful coming of age story.

Finding Miracles Julia Alvarez Book Cover

The book is about a young girl, Milly (her full name is Milagros), who was adopted as a child and grew up to become an American teen – and she was just fine with that. As most books go, a new boy shows up to school, but this boy is different from most in books like these. Milly quickly finds out that he has something in common with her, and that is what makes her decide to find out more about her birth parents.

The characters in this book are relatable, as well, even if Milly wasn’t adopted from a Latin country into a Caucasian family. Her friends and her relationships with them are realistic and that makes it easy for readers to put themselves into the novel.

Julia Alvarez, the author of this novel, said, “I have met quite a few young people who were adopted from other countries by American moms and dads. I have watched them grow up and struggle to understand how to fit their “shadow” culture and world into the story of their lives.”

And so she wrote this novel for any other young people that might deal with this same issue. The title of the novel, “Finding Miracles,” is just another way of saying “Finding Milagros.” Alvarez’s story is all about how Milly finds herself in her American culture, but also her Latin one. She learns to embrace who she truly is after hiding it away for so many years.

Alvarez also leaves out the name of the country Milly is from so that readers can imagine it as any place they like, maybe even the country they are from. She describes the country well enough for readers to get an image in their head, but vaguely enough for it to be almost any Latin American country.

This book would be good for anyone to read, not just anyone that’s been in that situation. Although everyone is different, and there might not be anyone in the exact same position as Milly, readers learn what someone they know might be feeling if they are in a situation similar to this. And if the readers don’t know anyone who has had to go through this, the novel has a good plot that will keep readers interested until the very end.

Book Review: Rogelia’s House of Magic

Rogelia's House of MagicRogelia’s House of Magic follows the journey of three girls into the world of curanderismo magic and the world of friendship, love, and family it opens up along the way. What begins as three girls trying to learn magic becomes a story of friends finding the family and love they didn’t know they were looking for.

Rogelia’s House of Magic is the story of Xochitl, Marina, and Fern—three fifteen-year-old girls with three different problems in their lives. Xochitl was excited to move to the United States from Mexico, but her twin sister died in an accident along the way and she can’t stop mourning her death. Now she is afraid to open up and enjoy the friendship of others. Fern lives in the barrio and her mom is never around. She has a big heart for nature though and is trying to save sacred wetlands from being developed by a housing company. Marina was Fern’s old neighbor in the barrio until her mom make a ton of money and moved them into a big house and shunned their old life. Marina can’t seem to make her mother proud and she hates that she has no connection to her Mexican heritage.

Things seem tough for the girls, until they meet Rogelia. Rogelia is Marina’s new maid and Xochitl’s grandma. Rogelia is a curandera, or a wise healer, who was well-known in her village for using nature and magic to heal people and save lives. Marina and Fern ask Rogelia to teach them magic and this leads to their friendship with Xochitl. The girls gain powers through their training, but don’t realize they are gaining a lot more than that. Rogelia comes to fill a void in each of their lives. For Marina, Rogelia is a connection to her heritage and a stand-in for the grandmother she never had. Rogelia teaches Fern that she is capable of forming relationships with people and she doesn’t have to take care of herself. In Xochitl’s case, Rogelia is a connection to her past and her sister, and she inspires Xochitl to take a step forward in life and move past her loss.

The most important bond though, is between the three girls. Rogelia’s House of Magic is a story about friendship at its core. Anyone with a bestfriend will understand how powerful their connection is. Fern and Marina have been friends for years and have supported each other through ups and downs. Xochitl is wary of the girls’ friendship and worries they are only using her for her grandmother’s lessons. Together they help each other open up about their problems and a dreams and push each other to go out and change their own lives. In the end, they learn that magic is nothing without their friendship. Magic is fueled by their love for each other and leads them to do some of their greatest magic yet.

Of course, the magic is rooted in reality. Curanderismo is a practice of folk healing in Latin American culture. Don’t expect any magic wands like in Harry Potter. The girls learn power like clairvoyance, invisibility, and psychic mediumship. Rogelia teaches them that the magic really lies in nature and their connection to the world and to each other. The only way to perform the most difficult of spells is to do it with the purest hearts and best intentions. Magic is driven by love and their combined love is all the more powerful.

While we may not all be curanderas, the book is a great read with something everyone can relate to—friendship, crushes, or family drama. This book inspires the reader to appreciate the family and heritage that we sometimes forget about in our busy lives. Rogelia’s House of Magic is a reminder that the true magic in the world is that of the love we show to others.

Latinas in Music

Latinas are making their voice heard in the music industry. Selena - LatinitasFrom Tejano music to salsa and pop to folk music, Latina musicians are gaining acclaim and taking the reigns as Latina musical superstars.  Meet some mujeres who broke ground in the music charts.

Selena Quintanilla- (1971-1995) – Tejano Music

The “Queen of Tejano Music” born in Lake Jackson, Texas, Selena Quintanilla began her career with the family band Selena y Los Dinos. She started singing at the age of 10 along with her brother Abraham and Suzette who played bass and drums. Spanish wasn’t her first language, but was taught by her father and she soon spoke Spanish fluently. Her  success began in the ‘80s with albums Selena Live and Amor Prohhibido. Known for Tejano Music she won Tejano Music Awards for “Best Female Vocalist of the Year” and “Performer of the Year.” Soon falling in love with the band’s lead guitarist Chris Perez they ran off and got married in secret. Sadly her story ends in 1995 being shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivar who worked with her as the founder of Selena’s fan club. After her death, her story and music were kept alive by the film Selena starring Jennifer Lopez.

Celia Cruz – (1925-2003) – Salsa

The Cuban-American vibrant salsa singer was born in Havana, Cuba on October 21, 1925. She was one of 14 children. She already had success in her teen years winning various talent shows and competitions in Cuba.  Although her father encouraged her to go to school and become a teacher, her true passion was to sing. Her career began in the ‘50s when she joined the orchestra Sonara Matancera which toured around Latin America. Once Fidel Castro assumed control of Cuba in 1959, Cruz and her husband Pedro Knight immigrated to the United States and became United States citizens. Associating with Tito Puente, she went on to create eight albums with Tico Records. Recording 23 gold albums, she won Grammys and Latin Grammys making her the first female salsa superstar.  She was renowned internationally as the “Queen of Salsa.” Not limiting herself to music, she appeared in several movies and even earned a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. She was also awarded the American National Medal of the Arts by the National Endowment of the Arts. She died in 2003 of brain cancer in her New Jersey home.

Joan Baez –(1941- )   – Folk Music

The famous activist known for her unique voice was born in 1941 in Staten Island, New York. Joan Baez born from a Scottish mother involved in social causes and Mexican physicist father committed to pacifism she became a performer. Singing and playing the ukulele at age 14, she found her niche as a folk singer. The pacifist singer is also a songwriter and activists for women’s rights, children, civil rights and anti-war activist. She sang “We Shall Overcome” at the march organized by Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.in Washington in 1963. From supporting civil rights, she was also involved in the antiwar movement to end the conflict in Vietnam. Being the last act on Friday, she wished everyone a good morning at Woodstock and perform at 1:00am. Her latest album was released in 2003 called Dark Chords on a Big Guitar.  Married to David Harris, she had a son and now lives in California where she continues to be the voice for causes important to her.

Gloria Estefan- (1957- ) – Latin Pop

Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García de Estefan, best known as Gloria Estefan was born on 1957 in Havana, Cuba. Fleeing Cuba as a toddler, she took care of her sister and father who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis while her mother worked to support the family. She met her husband Emilio Estefan at a wedding and became part of the band he was in which was later renamed the Miami Sound Machine. The band’s first English album Eyes of Innocence had a single which rose in the European dance charts called “Dr.Beat.” The song “Conga” became the first single to hit Billboard’s pop, dance black, and Latin American charts at the same time. Out of 15 nominations, she has won seven Grammy Awards in her career. While on tour the band’s bus was involved in an accident where Gloria suffered a broken vertebra in her back which she bounced back from after a long recovery. She has also written children’s books, collaborated with musician Carlos Santana, and appeared in films.

Quiz: What Song Are You?

Music2Music is one of the many creative outlets. It’s used to tell a story, spark emotion, and, most importantly, is used to express yourself! From carefully crafted lyrics, rhythmic beats, and sweet melodies, songs embody an essence that carries personality. Take this quiz to find out which Latina’s iconic song represents you!

1. What adjective would your friends use to describe you?

A) Shy

B) Independent

C) Fun

D) Dramatic


2. Your friend asked you for help to plan her birthday party, what is your role?

A)   Helping hand – everything & anything she needs, I got it!

B)   Constructive criticism – Hey! She’ll thank me later, when she has the best party ever.

C)   Tunes Whiz – Don’t care what’s going on, so long as I get to get my groove on.

D)   Bouncer – That guest list is exclusive! She can’t just have anyone there.


3. What color do you like to paint your nails?

A)   Black

B)   Red

C)   Neon pink

D)   Purple


4. You find out your crush isn’t into you, how do you react?

A)   Sad, of course! But it happens, it’s not like I told anyone that I was crushing, anyways.

B)   His loss! If he doesn’t see how amazing I am, then totally not worth it.

C)   What crush?! I’m just trying to have fun with my friends. Boys shmoys.



5. What school organization/activity are you more than likely to take part in?

A)   Tutoring

B)   Sports team

C)   Dance

D)   School Newspaper


6. What is your greatest strength?

A) Your reliability

B) Your honesty

C) Your loyalty

D) Your wit


7. What does your dream job involve?

A) Helping people

B) Traveling

C) Flexibility

D) The red carpet


Mostly A’s – Skyscraper by Demi Lovato
Like this gentle and emotional tune, you tend to be a little more on the shy side. You’re very compassionate and care a lot for others. You find yourself always saying yes and putting what other people feel in front of your own feelings. You don’t like to be the center of attention and it takes a while for you to break out of your shell. But once you open up to people, they get to see how warm-hearted you are, so don’t be afraid to be noticed, you deserve it!

Mostly B’s – Come & Get It by Selena Gomez
That’s right, “come & get it” because you’re too independent and strong-willed to succumb to anyone’s games. You’re very head strong and honest. You have your own thoughts and opinions and are not afraid to share them. Sometimes you come off a little too strong and a little stubborn, but that’s okay! You have a mind of your own and you don’t let what anyone thinks affect you. You are a natural leader.

Mostly C’s – On the Floor by Jennifer Lopez
Just like this song, you have this effect on people that just wants to make them get up and dance! You are the life of the party and always want to have fun. You live for enjoying the little moments in life. You are carefree and bubbly. You are full of personality and you can’t always stay still. You hate having a routine and like to be spontaneous. Sometimes you can be a little impulsive, but that’s because you want to live life to the fullest. You make happiness your priority.

Mostly D’s – Can’t Remember to Forget You by Shakira
This tune that tells of a girl forgetting to move on from her ex embodies your love for the drama! Boring is overrated and you enjoy having something entertaining going on in life. You’re in-tune with the latest news, gossip, and are always onto the new fashion trends. You love the limelight and your friends enjoy your larger than life view on things. However, sometimes the drama can get a little stressful for you. Don’t forget to sit back and relax!

Review: East Los High


Hulu released its first and only original series in 2013, East Los High. This short series is one of a kind, an English-language show with an all Latino cast. With only two seasons under its belt, it is making an impression. East Los High is produced and directed by Carlos Portugal, who’s worked on other Latino projects such as East Side Story and Pop Star. Portugal called for help from Advocates of Youth, Voto Latino, and the California Healthy Family Council to create a series that is informative, educational, and realistic to its audience.

East Los High is a teen drama based in East Los Angeles, an area with a reputation of being tough and dangerous – a stereotype the show wants to discourage. The show follows a group of students at the local high school and focuses on many common situations that occur in a high school setting: friendships, love, sexual encounters, and peer pressure. However, even though many of these matters can be found in other teen drama series, the difference with East Los High is their focus on Latinos and their way of addressing the issue in an honest and upfront manner.

In Season 1, a student finds that she is pregnant and viewers get to see her discuss her options with a counselor. The information provided to the character is not limited to her and can be information useful to any adolescent outside the TV screen. This situation repeats in season 2 when a student is discussing her encounter with an abusive relationship to a counselor. These scenarios, which are rather serious in nature, are seen in today’s society and are able to be addressed to a young audience watching the series.

“The wholesome kid show, the polished teen drama isn’t real life,” said Danielle Vega, East Los High’s Ceci, in an interview with LA Times. “‘East Los High is gritty, it’s in your face because the world out there is in your face. But it’s also teaching something, which is incredibly important because you look at kids these days and they don’t look up from their screens. So at least this show gives them something to think about when their eyes are glued to their devices.”

Telanovelas are known for its popularity in Latin American cultures and East Los High reflects this in their Latino-focused show. With a telanovela-esque plot and character dynamics, the series does not have a shortage of entertainment and drama. There are love triangles, revenge, mean girls, and the classic, good girl losing her way in the face of popularity. Each of these situations touches on a realistic aspect found in a teenager’s journey through high school – and there is no sugar coating.

The team of writers reflects the demographics in cast: predominately Latina. Only two men grace the writers’ desk and one African American woman. Portugal, Director and Producer, has stated that he wanted to write what he knew and encourages his writing staff to do the same. The storyline is to reflect daily lives and connect to its audience through authenticity. Admittedly, some characters and the vernacular do seem to embody a stereotype found in Latinos. However, it is fleeting and is cancelled out by the wide range of perspectives, personalities, and conduct presented by the characters.

“Since we are the culture, it never feels like, ‘Oh, we’re creating stereotypes,’” Portugal said in an interview with LA Times. “Stereotypes exist. I think one of the reasons why we are doing this is we present them, and then we start exploring them. My hope is that the people from East L.A. see themselves being portrayed as diverse individuals.”

East Los High succeeds in its uniqueness in teen dramas that are dominated by Caucasian actors and actresses. Hulu’s original series brings in a handful of new faces to the screen – freshness amongst the overdone big names. And it excels in bringing real life situations and addressing them in an educational way that takes the viewer outside the classroom. This show can be seen as a teaching method, which is a goal achieved through the help of the numerous organizations that have played a role in its creation. However, some incidents and character portrayals do seem exaggerated and it can distract from the purpose of the show. Even though the series’ main characters are the youthful faces, it has been overlooked that the counselors, doctors, teachers, and other professional in the series are Latino.

This teen drama does illustrate genuineness to American-Latino culture, a nice change to shows like George Lopez and Cristella that relies on comedic scripts. It is serious, honest, and mysterious.

East Los High has been renewed for a third season; bringing in a new set of characters as each season focuses on a new group of students. The series airs weekdays on Hulu and entire seasons are available for Hulu Plus members.

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