America Ferrera's new web series will challenge how Latinx people are represented in the media, the Superstore actress explained to People. It's the perfect plan for a star who has used her power in Hollywood to fight stereotypes.
Ferrera's new digital series, which screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January, is titled Gente-Fied, and stars an all-Latinx cast and a behind-the-scenes crew also comprised of many members of the cultural community. As the title suggests, the series is about gentrification — specifically in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. Ferrera plays a role in the new series — which follows seven main characters as they navigate the ever-changing neighborhood — as well as acts as executive producer. Ferrera explained to People why the series was particularly close to her heart:
"Our writer and director Marvin Lemus is a young, Mexican-Guatemalan American and his co-writer is a young Mexican-American, Linda Yvette Chavez. It shifts the world from the perspective of young American Latino millennials and that’s not perspective that I’ve seen represented in our mainstream media so I think that millions of people will feel represented."
Ferrera explained to People that when Latinx do receive the spotlight on screen, their roles are often severely limited:
"The same stereotypes get played over and over again. I think what we’re used to seeing is Latinos as gangsters, drug dealers, or people trying to cross the border, and while all those things may be true and real to an extent, we as Latinos are so much more than that and there is so many representations of our experience and who we are that completely goes unseen. We’re engrained the gay community. We’re engrained in the artists community. We’re engrained in the culinary community. We’re so rarely represented for all of the things that we are."
This isn't the first time that the actress is speaking out about stereotypes. She penned an essay for Deadline in which she explained how her current role on Superstore was the first time she was able to play a role not originally written for a Latina actress. She wrote:
"It thrilled me that [ Superstore 's casting was] done in a way that wasn’t in any way token. It wasn’t about inserting the black character, or the sassy Latina chick, or the one-joke Asian dude. They went out and found funny people and cast them regardless of their skin color. But this is really rare... The characters in Superstore, I felt, were real people, written with intelligence, humor and depth. And of course, when I stepped into the role of Amy, she became Latina because I’m Latina… It just wasn’t her only point of definition."
Gente-fied is opening doors for Latinx actors to share a point of view that rarely gets celebrated by Hollywood, but it's clear from the show's trailer that these characters are more than just Latinx. They are chefs, musicians, activists, boyfriends, girlfriends, mothers — a million things in one, just as any fleshed-out character should be, regardless of race.
Check out the trailer below:
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?