I Will Never Let Go of The Get Down

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Halfway through 2017, The Get Down, Netflix’s primary colored series, was cancelled due to its large budget.

The Get Down was a beautiful show, not just because of the cast with its different shades of brown and the nicely constructed music, but because of the spin it put on Hip Hop history and the complex issues that it attempted to tackle.

I have never seen such a colorful display of New York in the 80s. Most people talk about the destruction of New York during this time because of the crack epidemic and the dismantling of the black neighborhoods in Brooklyn. But those aspects of the setting are simply one of the many of topics the show covers. Rather, it focuses on the birth of Hip Hop and its emergence from genres like R&B, disco, soul and gospel music. It focuses on the fashion of the era by putting cast members in bell bottom pants and brightly colored, fitted suits. Scenes are incredibly comfortable and even flashy when they take place in clubs or other important music scenes.

LGBTphobia in the Black Community

Jaden Smith's character Dizee/Marcus is spiritual and a go with the flow kind of guy. He's known as the weird one of the group, but it's simply because the other boys are quick to isolate what they do not understand. In the second part of the season, he falls in love with a boy named Thor and experiments with drugs. While this isn’t something that he tells his other friends outright, when his brothers find out that he spends so much time with Thor, they are automatically skeptical and want Thor to stay far a way from them. The reaction that Dizee faces is a reality that many black members of the LGBT community face often.

Drugs in Music and Lower Income Communities

Its no secret that drugs are a huge topic of discussion in creative communities. Psychedelics, hallucinogens and other deugs help people to feel more open and creative, which shows in their creativity and art. Drugs provide escapism for people in lower income communities. But they also bring about addiction and when overused can easily destroy families and even entire communities. The Get Down openly discusses how easily people can succumb to the influences of drugs and similar vices, like alcohol. The Get Down Brothers (or The Fantastic Four Plus One) all fall victim to the influence of drugs in part two. Boo, the youngest of the group, begins selling drugs and is soon busted by his parents and police.

The Destruction of the Black Family

There isnt a family in the show that isnt destroyed by the end of the season. The Figueroes are broken before the show even begins. Zeke/Books stays with his aunt and uncle because both of his parents were murdered when he was young. Zeke hates his uncle and his wants and actions often contrast what the adults in his family want him to do.

The Cruz family is destroyed when Ramon, Mylene’s father wants to take charge of her career. When she begins experimenting with sex and drugs, he spazzes and gets physically abusive. He also finds out that he is not Mylene’s father and she is instead, his niece. This pushes him to his limits and he gets physically abusive with his wife, before recording his own suicide on a tape recorder.

The Kiplings were a solid family at the beginning of the show. They own their own hair salon, where the kids work before and after school. However, their family is destroyed when Boo is taken to jail for selling drugs, Dizee is placed on bed rest because of his overdose and the other boys are barred from pursuing music as a consequence.

Sexual Intimidation and Abuse

Mylene is a character that is often the victim of sexual explicit language, even though she is underage. This language is mainly used by Cadillac, a character that we later learn was sexually abused by his mother, Fat Annie. Fat Annie went on to abuse Shaolin Fantastic (nee Curtis) much to Cadillac’s knowledge. This seems to be the reason that Shaolin does not trust many women in his life, especially Mylene. In fact, he thinks that Mylene is a complete distraction to what The Get Down Brothers are attempting to accomplish. At the end of the first part, Regina is in an abusive relationship with Little Wolf. In the second part of the season she begin’s a relationship with Shane Vincent, a character that is a great deal older than her and is known to be married.

The Get Down was reportedly cancelled because of its large budget. But since its a series with so much to accomplish, the budget does not surprise me. Rather, the nonchalance with which the cancellation was met was more of a surprise to me. It was a show with this much promise, a great cast and much more work to do. No matter how many times I watch this show, it will never get old.