The Get Down beautifully demonstrated the lives of people of color in the 70s Bronx, New York. It passionately shone a spotlight on what it is to live in a white world. What it is to use music, especially hip hop, in an environment infested by gangs, street violence and drugs. It painted a picture of incredibly flawed women of color who endured more pain and abuse than their white male counterpart. The Get Down spoke truths that are prevalent today.
With only two parts for its first season, Netflix came to the decision to close The Get Down chapter. Netflix’s reason was simple: its production was over a million dollars per episode. As viewers, we understand that of course, any set production taking place in the 70-80s does have a high cost. However, what we do not understand is the why. Why did it get cancelled? How? Netflix surely surpasses cable television viewership so why was it cancelled?
My only conclusion is this: it was PoC centered. Not only was it PoC centered but it shone a positive light on PoCs. It became a voice for latinx representation and black lives. PoCs were not tokens in this show. They were front and center for the whole world to see.
Netflix did not promote the show enough for that reason. It never got promoted therefore it never gained capital value from merch and with its cast. It is devastating to witness this stab in the gut from a company that has given minorities a voice more than your standard cable tv access. Netflix could have gained so much money so it can fund future seasons if they promoted it on their twitter pages and youtube channels. The company claims to be PoC friendly but we only see PoCs as minor characters. We never see them take the center stage. We only see three or four being put to the left to balance out the whiteness at the center. These minor PoCs are usually given weak storylines and character development. One example is Lucas in Stranger Things. During season 1, Lucas was often placed as the ‘angry black boy’ when Eleven became more of a priority than him in his group of friends. Stranger Things gave Lucas scraps while Eleven wedged in his friendship with Dustin and Mike. Being labeled as the angry black boy in the group when the media already portrays black people as ticking time bombs is tiring and disgusting.
Even though Stranger Things takes place in the 80s, it gives the writers no right to give fragile storylines to PoC characters. There is a difference between writing something fair in a racist time period and feeding the stereotype.
That is not true representation. True representation is having PoC characters be as capable as their white counterpart. Have complex thoughts and not feed the monster of stereotypes. This is why I am furious. The Get Down did not feed the monster of stereotypes. It gave solid storylines for all its PoC characters. It accurately portrayed latinx and black culture. It even intertwined because yes, black latinxs do exist. I am furious it did not get the promotion it deserved because it was mainly a PoC cast. I am furious it did not get renewed because it was front and center and did not hold anything back.
If PoCs get their own shows it is labeled as ‘being too upfront’ but then people online thirst for diversity and start online wars on why the media does not give us diverse shows. This is why. Because the media does not care at all for PoC centered shows. They only care if we are in the background. If we take partial credit. We cannot take full credit because that is too aggressive. Too unfair and white characters also need to get their fair share of spotlight. I am livid that The Get Down got cancelled because none of you cared enough about PoC portrayal unless if it is on the side.