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How Will A Show About Boyle Heights Impact Boyle Heights?

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America Ferrera attends the premiere of Netflix's GENTIFIED Season 1 at Margo Albert Theatre on Feb. 20 in L.A. (Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Netflix)
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Boyle Heights has been a center of anti-gentrification sentiment for years. The neighborhood itself has a diverse history: predominantly Latino, you can still see remnants of its past as an early hub of the city's Jewish community. The Breed Street Shul stands right off Cesar Chavez Avenue, a street that a lot of locals still call Brooklyn Avenue.

Now, all the existential wrestling over this neighborhood has a new locus: a Netflix show called Gentefied (which btw got its start as a web series).

Set in Boyle Heights, it's the story of three cousins and their immigrant abuelo fighting to save the family's taqueria against a wave of change. Actress America Ferrera — currently of Superstore fame — is one of the executive producers. Here’s how she defined the term:

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Gentefied (HEN-te-fīd)

adjective

“a term that was created to describe when a change in a certain community is happening from within”

Ferrera spoke with local news show Take Two about navigating this sensitive topic for the show:
“This issue is a complicated one and one that is very present and very alive in Boyle Heights. One of the beauties of Boyle Heights is that it has this historic identity of activism and organizing and fighting for its own identity, and to better understand them and to better represent them, our creators and our cast spoke to local activists and organizers and organizations in the community doing the work and had conversations to better understand it. You know, that doesn't mean that there aren't still many perspectives on what the impact of making a TV show about Boyle Heights is going to have on Boyle Heights, but the intention is certainly to humanize our communities and our people and to give context to the issues that people are impacted by every single day.”

You can listen to the full interview below:

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