In my opinion, The Get Down has become one of my most favorite series to watch online. It really captured the origins of hip hop culture in the South Bronx during the 1970s, specifically in 1977. Despite the social, economic, and political climate that occurred during that era, it was responsible for ushering the multi-billion dollar industry that we know today as hip hop. The Get Down showcased archival footage during that year and it added greater depth to the storyline. Historical events were an important factor in keeping the series in its proper perspective. As a result, it connected the struggles of each character to our own. I think the series connects with many people because they can relate to similar issues that these characters faced on a daily basis.
Many people would look at this series and think that the South Bronx is a roach-infested jungle with nothing but burnt-out buildings littered with graffiti. Hip hop reflected the freedom and hope that many young people were craving in their lives at that particular time. This series revolves around young people that have goals and ambitions in life. Unfortunately, many people are still led to believe that their circumstances define them and should settle for mediocrity. Overcoming challenges and remaining persistent in the face of adversity are the two major themes that resonated with me throughout the series.
The two main characters, Milene Cruz and Ezekiel Figuero, provided us proof that we can accomplish anything we set our mind to through hard work, dedication, passion, and sacrifice. On one hand, you have Milene Cruz aspiring to become a popular singer during the disco era and willing to do whatever it takes to make her dream happen. During the series, she started off singing in her father’s church and branched off into singing popular disco songs during that time. One step that Milene took in making her dream a reality is by sneaking out of her parent’s house and going to the club Les Inferno to get her music heard by DJ Malibu. One friend even convinced Milene to make Cadillac her dance partner. Eventually, she connects with a record producer through her uncle Papa Fuerte in promoting her music to the world.
On the other hand, we have Ezekiel Figuero: a rising poet and wordsmith. The scene that captured the most attention for me was when his teacher encouraged him to express his talent through poetry. Ezekiel’s poetry hit a nerve with me because it expressed anger and frustration that he observed in his community. It shaped the way he views the world and who he wants to be. Expressing oneself without apology should be awarded, not conformity. His attraction to Milene becomes apparent throughout the series. Ezekiel went so far to get Misty Holloway’s record Far, Far Away played in the same club Milene was. He teams up with Shaolin Fantastic in forming the Get Down Brothers and competes against other DJs to become the best not only in the South Bronx, but in the universe. Both characters were able to overcome obstacles and make their dreams come true. It goes to show that all things are possible through persistence, hard work, and sacrifice.
The similarity that can be drawn among Milene and Ezekiel is that teenagers struggle to find their voice and tend to rebel as a way of gaining attention. Everyone was a teenager at some point and it is just another phase that they have to endure. The youth saw hip hop as a creative force motivating them to rise above their situation just like a phoenix rising above the ashes. Their ability to create something out of nothing provided them with a greater sense of purpose in improving the quality of their lives. Nobody expected hip hop to last this long. However, young people had a vision and strongly believed that it will come to pass one day and it did. I am excited to see how the series will evolve throughout season 2.
Watch this scene from the first season of The Get Down: