Entertainment

Looking For A New Show To Obsess Over? Starz Series ‘Vida’ Is Coming Soon And You’re Going To Love It

With series like One Day At A Time, On My Block, The Get Down and Orange Is The New Black, Netflix has become the go-to for audiences craving Latinx representation on their screens. But Vida, a new drama coming to Starz next week, might make viewers close their laptops and turn on their TVs for the first time since ABC’s Cristela ended in 2015.

The series, set in East Los Angeles, follows the journey of two Mexican-American sisters, Emma and Lyn, who return to their hometown after the death of their mother and have their lives changed dramatically by hidden family secrets and major moral-slash-economic decisions.

Created by TV writer Tanya Saracho, whose previous credits include How To Get Away With Murder, Looking, Girls and Devious Maids, the show tackles feminist themes, LGBTQ discrimination, socioeconomic divides and gentrification with LA’s Latinx culture as its backdrop.

If this alone doesn’t sound appealing, here’s why Vida, premiering May 6, 2018 on Starz, should be the next series you toss onto that list of shows you said you weren’t going to add to but you actually totally are.

1. Its lead characters are both Latina.

(Photo Credit: Erica Parise/Starz)

Lyn, played by the Mexican-born telenovela star Melissa Barrera, and Emma, played by Miami Mexican-Dominican-Puerto Rican actress Mishel Prada, are estranged Mexican-American sisters on the show, which they lead. Most of the roles, including main and supporting, are presented by Latinx actors as well, from non-binary Argentine-Paraguayan actor Ser Anzoategui playing Eddy, the sisters’ late mother’s secret spouse, to Chelsea Rendon, who plays chingona activist Marisol, to Maria Elena Laas, playing Lyn’s love interest Cruz and more.

2. It’s hella Latinx behind the scenes as well.

(Photo Credit: Starz)

Often feeling like the “diversity hire” as the sole Latina writer on a program, Saracho made it a point to have a lot of color in her writing room. Her writing staff is entirely Latinx and primarily female and queer — making themes on latinidad, gender and LGBTQ feel authentic on the show.

3. It’s unapologetically feminist.

(Photo Credit: Starz)

In Vida, women of color are multidimensional characters. In addition to the female camaraderie throughout the series, we also see women who are business owners, have economic independence, embrace their sexuality and advocate for their community.

4. Queer representation is front and center.

(Photo Credit: Starz)

Many of the Latinx characters on Vida are queer, shattering stereotypes and offering portrayals not often seen in the entertainment industry. Not only did the sisters discover that their late mother was married to the non-binary Eddy, who remains a central part of the show, but Emma, who reconnects with an old female fling, is also questioning her sexual orientation. Saracho, who is queer herself, makes sure that different aspects of queer relationships — from exploration, falling in love, sex, discrimination, heartbreak and loss — are present and shown in real and nuanced ways.

5. On that, there’s lots of amor on the series.

(Photo Credit: Starz)

Who wants to watch a series without love? Not me! While romance isn’t the most important theme on the show, it’s sprinkled throughout, from the complicated relationships between Emma and Cruz as well as Lyn and her engaged love Johnny.

6. It gets real about gentrification, particularly gentefication.

(Photo Credit: Starz)

On the show, the sisters are gentefiers, gentrifiers who happen to be brown. Upon the death of their mom, the siblings receive the building and attached bar she owned. Not sure if they want to stay in the low-income neighborhood they grew up in, they’re thinking about selling, speaking with a Latino real estate developer who wants to transform the dive bar and low-rent apartments into pricey condos, which would leave the tenants, many of them undocumented, on the streets. The theme of gentefication is present throughout the series, including a Latino local selling artisanal tacos in Boyle Heights, and forces viewers to think about the ways they have entered — or re-entered — spaces and dictated what happens there.

7. They speak your language: Spanglish.

(Photo Credit: Starz)

While the show is primarily in English, to accurately represent the Latinx community, there must be Spanglish dialogue, and Vida brings it. From meshing words, to immediately shifting from English to Spanish when arguing to advocating hard for your Latinx community but speaking hella broken Spanish, the Vida cast speaks our language.

Vida premieres May 6 on Starz.

Read: ‘One Night’ Is A Love Story Between Latinx Trans And Queer Childhood Friends In Chicago

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This Latina Broke The Marathon World Record At Just 16 Years Old And We’re Starting To Think She’s A Super-Human

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This Latina Broke The Marathon World Record At Just 16 Years Old And We’re Starting To Think She’s A Super-Human

At 12, Blanca Ramirez broke a global marathon record. At 16, she’s running to top her only competition: herself.

In 2015, The La Puenta, Calif.-based teen became the youngest female runner to complete seven marathons in seven different continents, running in Rwanda, New Zealand, Paraguay, China, France and Antarctica.

Her interest in international marathons started when she was 10 years old. She had just completed a long-distance running race in Disneyland and was hungry for more. She told her dad she wanted to beat the world record, but he thought she was joking at first.

“It seemed like it was something impossible,” her father Dimas Ramirez told NBC News. “I told her to prove to me she could run a marathon. She ran a 5K, then a 10K and-a-half marathon and then I let her do the Los Angeles Marathon.”

After proving to her dad that she’s fully capable of running around the world, and beating records while she’s at it, the Mexican-American teen is doing it once more — this time with the accompaniment of her younger brother.

Jordan, 9, completed his first marathon in Australia at age 8. He then ran in Egypt, crossed Europe off his list when he did 26.2 miles in London and then took to Thailand. Now, he and his big sis are headed to Antarctica and then South America. He plans to finish off in the US next April.

For Blanca, who has already accomplished the task her brother faces, joining him has been a way to show support and have some fun competition.

“At the end, we try to have a competition of who can cross the finish line first, even though we’re standing next to each other,” she told KTLA 5. “So we can be still next to each other, but I’ll make sure my foot passes it first.”

As for their dad, he’s proud of both of his children meeting their goals — but he’s also looking forward to it for reasons of his own.

“Dad’s very exhausted and I need a break,” he said. “Or they need to pick another sport.”

Read: This Indigenous Woman From Mexico Ran An Ultramarathon In Huaraches Sandals And Won Big

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Why Thousands Of Los Angeles Teachers Are On Strike

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Why Thousands Of Los Angeles Teachers Are On Strike

Since Monday, more than 30,000 Los Angeles educators left their classrooms to go on strike for the first walkout of 2019.

The teachers are demanding a 6.5 percent raise and calling for more funding for public schools, noting that staff is extremely low, with some schools lacking even one nurse or librarian, classes are too large and there aren’t enough desks for students and that the growth of charter schools has created an over-tested student body that views education as more of a business than a right to U.S. youth.

The strike, Los Angeles teachers’ first in 30 years, follows months of unproductive negotiations between the teacher’s union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

On Friday, the school system extended a deal, but teachers rejected it, expressing that they’re fighting for the future of the education system.

Organizers are on Day 3 of the strike, and Los Angeles schools Supt. Austin Beutner laments the demonstration is costing the state millions. On the first day, only a third of the district’s students showed up for class, with that number growing, slightly, in the days that followed. So far, it has cost the school system about $25 million in state funding tied to enrollment, he told the Los Angeles Times. Deducting unpaid wages for the strikers at about $10 million, he continued, and that comes to an estimated one-day net loss of nearly $15 million.

But Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA, said Tuesday that members are “prepared to go as long as it takes” to get a fair contract.

“This has been already an historic week for educators and for public education in Los Angeles,” Caputo-Pearl told the paper.

Tens of thousands of LA teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians were inspired by teacher walkouts throughout the nation, from Arizona and West Virginia to Kentucky and Oklahoma, many of them ending in victories. A triumph for Los Angeles educators would mean an agreement and resources to move toward smaller classrooms, reductions in standardized tests, increased support staff and higher salaries.

“We need to invest in public education,” Jennifer Heath, a drama teacher at Burroughs Middle School, said during Tuesday’s strike. She held a sign that read “FUND THE FUTURE” in red block letters.

Despite rainy weather, educators remain on the picket line, demanding change they believe is necessary for the success of future generations.

“Teachers are dedicated. Teachers become teachers because they want to affect the future and make a difference in human beings’ lives, and we’re passionate about that,” she said. “That’s why we stand in the rain. We’re used to horrible conditions and we can handle more, but we shouldn’t have to,” Hollywood High history teacher Kelly Bender said.

Read: Austin Council Member Delia Garza Just Became The City’s First-Ever Latina Mayor Pro Tem

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