The history of television and film portrayals of people of color is pretty abysmal. Either we are not present, just in the background and stereotyped, or we're cast as maids, gardeners, servants or the comic buffoon. In my lifetime, I have never been exposed consistently to characters who either look like me, act like me or reflect my reality of those around me.
Notice I said consistently. There have been exceptions, but it seems we've had to wait patiently for portrayals that we recognize as being significant to our lives.
So when a show like Vida comes around, it is worth taking time to examine what and who makes it worth watching.
The Starz drama features an all-Latinx ensemble cast, as well as many behind the scenes roles for women and people of color, from video editing to casting, production design, and an all-Latinx writer's room. It's set in Boyle Heights, a longtime working-class Chicano enclave in East Los Angeles.
The premise: Two estranged sisters, Lyn (Melissa Barrera) and Emma (Mishel Prada) are brought back to Boyle Heights by the death of their mother, Vidalia — the titular Vida. In the difficult homecoming, the sisters learn more about their mother than she revealed in her life.