Will ‘The Get Down’ on Netflix Be a Huge Letdown For Latinos?

I never gave the devastation surrounding me as a kid a second thought. It seemed perfectly natural to have abandoned buildings and rubble strewn lots as playgrounds.

The idea that I was living in a blighted and dangerous ghetto that could easily pass for any number of ruined European cities during World War II never once dawned on me.

For me and my friends, it was just home.

The soundtrack to my formative years in the South Bronx included boogaloo, salsa, R&B, rock and roll (in all its myriad forms), pop, and a new form of street music that took elements from all those genres.

This new style was straight up party music, complete with an MC who kept us all entertained with his “raps” over a beat provided by the DJ to make sure the fun never stopped.

All you needed was a streetlamp to plug in the turntables, speakers and a microphone for the MC and the party was ON!

Those early days of hip hop were a blinding mix of fashion, dance, art and attitude that influenced all young Bronxites living in the southern-most neighborhoods of the borough.

Hip hop was always a Black Thing. Hip hop was always a Latino Thing.

Unfortunately Baz Luhrman and the producers of the Netflix original series “The Get Down” set to debut in 2016 never never got that memo.

pagan-portrait_lrOn this episode we’re joined by Edwin Pagán, a New York-based filmmaker, producer, photographer, cinematographer, screenwriter and cultural activist to discuss what the producers of “The Get Down” have gotten wrong and what they’ve gotten right in Mr. Luhrman’s tale of the South Bronx in the 70s and 80s.

We are all immensely proud of the young actors already announced in lead roles but we hope Mr. Luhrman and his producers make more of an effort at authenticity.

Rising out of the ashes and ruin of the South Bronx came a vibrant and powerful form of music that gave voice to stories that would never have been heard if not for the efforts of the talented Black AND Puerto Rican kids who grew up together in the Big Bad Apple of the 1970s.

Tell our story too, Baz Luhrman.

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