Last year, controversy erupted over one of Netflix’s most beloved new shows. The critically acclaimed On My Block had a decision to make after pro-Trump tweets surfaced from one of its series regulars Ronni Hawk. The situation was further exacerbated because Hawk portrayed Olivia, a Latina character whose parents had been deported — the opposite of Trump’s policies and views.
Though Hawk’s character was shot in the season finale, her fate in the show was still up in there. Once the season 2 trailer dropped, it was all but confirmed that Olivia was dead. But Netflix and the On My Block writers didn’t just stop there. If fans didn’t think that the writers were listening to them and hearing them, one of the first scenes in Season 2 is proof that they are watching, and they hear you.
In the first episode of Season 2, Monse (Sierra Capri), Jamal (Brett Gray) and Cesar (Diego Tinoco) are comforting Ruby (Jason Genao), as he is overcome with emotion in the light of Olivia being shot and almost losing his life. To lighten the mood, they gather at a makeshift memorial for Olivia and share their favorite memories with her.
When it is Ruby’s turn, he puts a gift that he was going to give her at her quinceanera at the memorial. When the others tell him that he should open it, he does and reveals that it is — a Spanish-English dictionary! The friends then all laugh and recall how her Spanish was very rusty.
The Ronni Hawk controversy was not just solely about the fact that she had pro-Trump tweets. She was also a white woman playing a Latina character. At one part during Season 1, Olivia breaks out into Spanish, and the internet is collectively confused because it is clear she is not a Spanish speaker. There are clips all over Twitter and YouTube making fun of it.
The writers didn’t have to include this, especially since it seemed as if in Season 1 we were supposed to take her seriously as a Spanish speaker. However, they did, and we have to appreciate it. This move, and the overall choice to remove the character (even if the plan may have been all along to have her die) shows that the brass behind the show was listening and heard the fans.
Season 2 of On My Block is now streaming on Netflix, and our glowing review reads: “On My Block is still one of the best series out right now and brings forward a representation that we don’t often see centered onscreen.”