When USA Network premiered “Queen of the South” in June 2016, critics immediately began to compare it to Netflix’s “Narcos” “Like this series,” Queen of the South “recounted story of Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga), a Culican money changer who would ultimately become the ‘Queen of Cocaine’ “But what the series did over the next five seasons was not to focus strictly on the narco lifestyle popularized in 1983’s “Scarface”, but to highlight how drug culture exploits women and minorities

Teresa and the team she has assembled over the years have compelled the public to consider misogyny in Latino culture and beyond, the nature of identity, and how whites break the law. law for centuries and have benefited generously “In the Season 4 premiere, Teresa says a lot of successful American families started off with Why Not Us? Series co-showrunner Dailyn Rodriguez told IndieWire Showrunners Rodriguez and Benjamin Lobato come to the series not only as longtime writers for the series, but with their own backgrounds in the world that Teresa inhabit

Lobato grew up and lived on the US-Mexico border With his family on both sides of the law, he eventually joined the military police, working against narcotics on the Arizona border Rodriguez, who describes his teenage years as similar to Meadow Soprano, grew up with his father who ran an illegal number racket in New York City throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Both viewed crime empathetically “I saw power corrupting my father,” said Rodriguez Rodriguez’s father regularly had the opportunity to quit life, but the opportunity to have quick cash s ‘turned out to be too convincing

It is this quest for empathy and humanity that anchored “Queen of the South” for five seasons Teresa is a cartel runner with a moral code, a desire to do good, and who knows the system is rigged against her For Lobato, his expertise on both sides of the equation helped him create that sense of nuance “I see them as people who sometimes do bad things instead of [like] bad people [ and] that’s the way I’ve always approached it, ”he said. The fact that Teresa’s group of followers love her so deeply further reinforces just how out of touch the character is. other pillars of cinema and television

This past season, Teresa tried to expand to New Orleans, and the departure from Mexico forced the show’s writers to face the racism that exists against foreigners Coupled with the political landscape, it turned out to be difficult “We struggled a bit after Season 3 because the politics of the country changed,” Rodriguez said “ We were dealing with a president who called out Mexican rapists and criminals, so we, ourselves and the actors were grappling with the subject of the show”

Both Lobato and Rodriguez understand the criticism that Latin American shows often focus on borderline and cartel stories – but because these stories are popular with audiences, it becomes a catch-22. the transition to New Orleans that helped the show find a new way to explore history, moving from the world of Mexican cartels to the quintessential – and more American – genre of gangster tales

“It allowed us to explore, very subtly, these ideas of institutionalized racism, institutionalized poverty, and how that leads to other people of color [who] have to turn to crime,” Rodriguez said. Lobato hopes people will use the series not to watch the presentation of the Mexican cartels, but the corruption that benefits and allows them to thrive

“Every group of immigrants that has come to this country has faced corruption; they faced inequalities, “he said” So they formed these groups to try to empower themselves and protect themselves “Giving humanity to Teresa was easier when placed against Judge Cecil Layfette (David Andrews), a man who represents all the racism and corruption that keeps minorities oppressed

But neither Lobato nor Rodriguez want to dodge the problem that persists with shows like ‘Queen of the South’: Ultimately, he still portrays Latinos as drug traffickers. But the show has taken that route to explore misogyny rampant in Latin cultures, with Teresa and the other female characters exploring elements like rape and motherhood in a landscape where women are powerless

“Women of color have an even more difficult trajectory moving forward in society, being in a position of power,” said Rodriguez “Ultimately she [Teresa] is the smartest woman in the room” It came as a conscious decision not to make her character more brutal and savage in order to appear worse than a man

Rodriguez quotes from a 2020 New York Times op-ed written by actress Brit Marling about how they didn’t want to write Teresa The point wasn’t to write to her like they would to a man The point was not to write to her like they would to a man. ‘was never to make her harder or harder, but to highlight the elements that make her human and feminine. “It really is her [Teresa’s] heart, her compassion and her loyalty that brought this family together around her that all saw the vision she saw, “said Lobato

At the same time, Lobato is outspoken about being a Chicano writer telling a story like this, and he attributes a lot of that to a lack of representation across the board. “We felt the pressure from our own community,” he said “When I entered this business there were no Chicanos There was no one to admire Even the fact that we are here, having this conversation, is like a miracle “

He explained that they carried the weight and responsibility of telling a story like this, especially as one of the few prime-time network dramas anchored by a Latina “If the only ones On-air shows are police shows about our culture, that’s not good, “Rodriguez said.” And that puts too much pressure on the creators and writers of the series “

The two are ambivalent about what this final season of the show will mean for Latin American dramas going forward Could Teresa Mendoza be the last Latina drama star we’ve seen for a while? “I want to be hopeful, but every development season comes and I’m disappointed again,” said Rodriguez “Ben and I are talking about how we felt all this pressure on our shoulders [and] we wouldn’t have felt that pressure… if there were 20 Latinx shows on TV because it wouldn’t have to. ‘importance”

Lobato attributes much of the emphasis on narco stories and borderline tales to media portrayal in the news “The Latin American community is suffering, especially the Mexican-American community,” he says “When they have conversations about Latinos and immigration, it always comes down to the border [and] they put us all together”

He said immigration had always been a problem, especially in times of economic instability “I feel like we as a culture have not been fully accepted as part of the American landscape, ”he said, and while he and Rodriguez had the chance to climb the ranks of“ Queen the South ”- Lobato even had his first opportunity to direct this season – he hopes Hollywood embraces and will encourage Mexican-American talent, and eventually walk away The same old story

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This post is linked to: Television and tagged Alice Braga, Queen of the South, USA Network

Queen of the South

World News – United States – Showrunners “Queen of the South”: Border Stories Aren’t the Only Latin Stories Worth Watching to be told

Source: https://www.indiewire.com/2021/04/queen-of-the-south-border-stories-only-latino-tales-1234628174/