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Gentefied Review: What to watch during the social distancing era

During these increasingly unsettling times, it is more important than ever to use this time to remind ourselves of our humanity and to be gentle with ourselves. Netflix debuted the comedy “Gentefied” over a month ago on Feb. 21, which explores the many multicultural communities that coexist in Los Angeles today. 

“Gentefied,” created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Cháves, follows a Latinx family in a Boyle Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles. Having lived in the area for decades, the show explores the financial struggles the Morales family undergoes in order to keep their business alive while maintaining their cultural identities. 

“In a time where nothing is guaranteed, and we are united in our homes, stories like “Gentefied” remind us what we have to fight for when all of this is over.”
-Isabel Beer

“Gentefied” follows four central characters in the family. Casimiro Morales (Joaquín Cosio) is the family patriarch struggling to keep the family taquería open despite a steadily increasing rent and corporate interest in the property. His grandson, Erik, played by JJ Sorio, is also interested in keeping the family business afloat but is motivated by his girlfriend’s pregnancy to succeed financially. Erik’s cousins Chris and Ana (played by Carlos Santos and Karrie Martin respectively) are both pursuing careers in the arts, and are dedicated to becoming relevant artists in their own rights while still maintaining their cultural integrity.

“Gentefied” makes for an excellent commentary on community gentrification that so many diverse communities have been experiencing. Businesses and families that have been pillars of their communities for generations are being pushed out of spaces because of increasing rent prices. When communities become potentially profitable areas of real estate for newer, larger companies, many families are at risk of compromising their livelihood in order to survive. 

In the era of COVID-19, it is hard to find anything to occupy your thoughts for long enough during social distancing. However relevant the issues discussed in “Gentefied” are, the writers and producers – lead by executive producer, America Ferrerra – are experts in using humor to make the topics both understandable and unifying. So many communities in the US are familiar with the concept of gentrification, and now especially with COVID-19, many community establishments aren’t going to be able to continue to financially sustain themselves.

“Gentefied” continues to amplify the voices of historically silenced communities. By providing a platform in the form of the Morales family, “Gentefied” shows the emotional strain families go through to compete with bigger, established companies. It also shows how far people will go to defend and protect their cultural identities. In a time where nothing is guaranteed, and we are united in our homes, stories like “Gentefied” remind us what we have to fight for when all of this is over.

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