As you may remember, the first season left us in a total cliffhanger. From the small family-owned Mama Fina’s Tacos suffering business loss and gentrification to Pop being deported, the family has to make crucial decisions.
Isn’t that relatable, though. As Latinx in tight-knit families, how do we deal with keeping our authenticity while our neighborhood is experiencing gentrification? And how do we move forward as individuals without feeling guilt from our families? Sound familiar to you? We all go through it at some point!
BELatina News had the opportunity to speak about these actual everyday issues to two of “Gentefied”’s main cast members: Julissa Calderon, the Afro-Latinx actress who plays Ana Morales’ girlfriend Yessika, and Annie Gonzalez, who plays Lidia Solis, Erik Morales’ girlfriend.
With their easygoing charisma and bubbly attitude, here’s what they had to exclusively share with our readers! And yes, there will be spoilers. You have been warned!
How can we find common ground between allowing your community to grow and sticking to the authenticity and catering to our community versus people who are not from it?
Julissa Calderon: Let’s dive right into it! Gentrification is not bad. The problem with gentrification, and it’s great that people — that the government or the state mayors — all these people want to put money into the communities, ax the roads, put more greenery, and put a Starbucks and put a Target. Like, we’re happy with all of those things. We love those things! Just don’t try to take us out of the community that we built for you to now take over.
I think that’s the problem with gentrification because if you want to do all of this stuff for the community and leave us as to be because we made this community what it is, then there’s no problem with that. I think the balance is what I just said: fix the roads, put greenery, fix the parks, fix that YMCA, put the Starbucks in the Target — but leave us alone because we are so deserving of all of those things.
And also in saying that, for the people that have the mom and pops — the Mama Fina’s taco shops — I think it’s also just staying true, right? Trying to find how to stay in this community but not sell out and still cater to the people that have been supporting this business for years. It’s hard to find a balance because you’re like: well, I want to progress and want to do better, and I also want to make sure that I still am catering to my people. So I think it’s hard, but I think it’s doable.
How is Pop’s deportation going to affect the family’s future as individuals? We know Pop is the one who keeps everything in order.
Annie Gonzalez: I heard a term or a phrase recently that goes as: “Tradition often starts off as innovation,” and I think this family got so married to only one way of a tradition that they didn’t realize as you grow and mature, new traditions have to come to fruition. And I think that is the plight in this new story. In everybody’s narratives: in Ana and Yessika’s, in Lidia and Erik’s, in Chris’, you know, in Pop’s. [In Pop’s] You see him holding on to Mama Fina while he’s in this new relationship.
How do you get to be your full self in love when you’re still married to a whole different idea and someone who’s passed on? So I think this story shows them like, oh, we’re never going to grow as individuals if we don’t let our family grow into something different and go through these uncomfortable moments. You have to grow up — your foundation was this. Now, you have to start building a new one.
Did you notice any scenes in particular that impacted the audience the most from the start of Gentefied? What are the comments you saw?
Julissa Calderon: I just think people were just resonating with the fact that they got to see themselves. They’re like, “Oh, I’m Lidia. Oh my God, my tia is Lidia. Oh my God, I’m Lidia or my sister’s Lidia! This is a common thing that people have said, and I always will see it in the comments where people would attach themselves to a specific character. That was one of the most memorable things.
Annie Gonzalez: Different generations would tell me different things about how they saw Lidia. The older generation would be like: Lidia needs to be nicer to Eric, right?
That’s what I would always get. My mom would be like, why are you so mean? That’s what I would always get. And then from the younger generation, I would hear, like, good for her! Go, sis!
What could we expect in season two? Can we get any spoilers or anything that you would like to point out for the audience?
Annie Gonzalez: I have a sex scene!
Julissa Calderon: Episode five! So you know, I feel like you don’t see Yessika a lot this season – obviously because of the way things ended. Spoiler! So you’re not going to see her as often, but you do see her in a different light in episode five. And that’s fun!
Annie Gonzalez: Yeah, I feel like that’s what both of our characters went through. They were like pillars. They were like the strength of, you know, they were the straight men in last season. And this one, we’re like, Wait, what is this so hard on this other end, you know?
Julissa Calderon: Yeah, let’s sit down a little bit.
Gentefied’s second season is streaming now on Netflix.