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The five time Emmy-nominated series, East Los High, comes to an end with its hour-long series finale special on Hulu on Friday.
East Los High, which is Hulu's longest running series to date, made history after being the first English-language series with an all-Latino cast, writers, and creators. Throughout its four seasons, the show gave lessons in navigating everything from high school drama to more serious topics like teen pregnancy and abortion in the Latino community.
In its final season, the topic of immigration took the forefront as one of its main characters, Eddie, played by Carlito Olivero, learns his DACA application will not be renewed.
The hit show’s entertainment company, Wise America, worked with the organization Define American to create a storyline that not only captures the current political climate but also other challenges that immigrants are facing today. The company was founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas.
Define American has made efforts to shift the conversation when it comes to immigrants. Whether through film festivals or by working with hit shows, their goal is to show immigrants for who they are and not for who they are sometimes feared to be.
“We were so excited to work on a project that has such an outstanding track record for raising awareness of immigration related issues,” said Elizabeth Grizzle Voorhees, Define American’s Entertainment Media Director. “It was wonderful to learn about Wise Entertainment’s approach to social change and be even just a small part of the creative process on East Los High.”
This is why using Eddie’s storyline was critical when crafting the finale of a series that has been so groundbreaking in portraying the stories of Latinos and DREAMers.
“It was important to us that Eddie’s storyline reflect some of the real challenges and fear facing many undocumented youth under this new administration, but we also wanted to offer them a ray of hope,” said the show's executive producer Katie Elmore Mota.
Over the last few years, East Los High has been delivering storylines that are applicable to teens of any background while using Latino faces. Much like the famed 90s show, Saved By The Bell, each episode provides a different lesson through storytelling that is entertaining, captivating, and emotional.
More importantly, East Los High shows the potential of using Latino artists and community stories to generate a large audience who can relate to the timeless struggles and lives of American Latino teens.