Starz Show: Vigilantes Terrorize Business Owners with Protest

A group of vigilantes, Los Vigilantes, in an eastside Los Angeles Latino neighborhood is not happy that the large outdoor mural on the side wall of Vida’s bar has been replaced with a Mexican beer ad. In the June 23 season two finale of the Starz show Vida, titled “Chapter 16,” the group targets two Latina sisters over the issue of gentrification.

Emma (Mishel Prada) and Lyn Hernandez (Melissa Barrera) are the co-owners of Vida, a neighborhood bar they inherited from their recently deceased mother. The sisters took advantage of an opportunity to replace the mural with the beer ad to earn some money to pay for the expenses of getting the bar up to code and re-opening it after the death of their mother, also named Vida.

The anti-gentrification thugs want revenge for the loss of the mural in the neighborhood. They plan to use powder detergent to throw on the new ad with the intention of ruining it. One problem is that a member of the gang is a friend of the sisters, Marisol "Mari" Sanchez (Chelsea Rendon), the younger sister of Lyn’s ex-boyfriend. Mari was kicked out of her father’s house and is staying with the sisters temporarily.

Mari feels guilty after learning of the group’s plan and warns Lyn of the coming protest during music night at the bar.

 

[Language Warning]

 

Lyn: You’re leaving? It's because Emma's a slob, isn't it? I would leave, too.

Mari: No, um... I just should. I--I have to. Do you know where she is? Um, I--I should talk to her.

Lyn: I don't, and I don't fucking care. At least she's off the fucking couch.

Mari: Look, fair warning. Vigilantes plans to disrupt your music night, and every night until you meet our demands. You did just take down that mural without asking anyone.

Lyn: Wait, we didn't have to ask anyone. It's our building.

Mari: Look, folks just want you to be held accountable. Every change you make, it--it has a ripple effect in the community. And, like, this concert, it's gonna attract all these chipsters and hipsters and that's—

Lyn: Well, did you talk to them? They're your crew. Did you explain to them that you know us and that we're only doing this to stay afloat? That we're not gentrifiers?

Mari: You are, though. You're "Gente-fiers." It's even worse.

Liz: After everything Emma did for you. Are you going to protest us, too? You fucking little backstabber. Come on. I want to watch you leave. Walk!

So, Mari’s betrayal of the sisters lands her without a place to stay.

The group of protesters arrogantly think that they have a say in the mural’s design. They wrongly consider it a community mural when, in fact, it is on private property. Vida’s original mural was a tribute to her daughters and the family, not the community in general. Mari does, in fact, passively join the protest.

[Language Warning]

 

All: Gentry are not welcome here. Say it loud, say it clear. Gentry are not welcome here. Say it loud, say it clear.

Lyn: I just—

All: Say it loud, say it clear.

Lyn: I just wanna ask y'all... I'm Lyn Hernandez. I'm co-owner of this bar. I just wanna ask y'all why...

All: Say it clear. Gentry are not welcome here.

Lyn: I just don't understand what we did wrong.

Yoli: You think you can just come back here and artwash a community mural and put up a pinche corporate ad?

Lyn: Oh, no, no, no, no. This wasn't a community mural. My mom put this up.

Yoli: And now look what you're attracting with your hipster concert. This bar is not for the community.

Lyn: No, you got this all wrong. I'm from this neighborhood as much as all of you. That's why I only hire Latinx acts.

All: Gentry are not welcome here.

Lyn: Jarina is Latinx. So is everyone that works at Vida. I--this is crazy.

Yoli: Sí, Dale. This bitch is fucking pissing me off. Hey, hey, Mari! Come on. Let's wash this bitch out. Come on, Mari.

Lyn: We have been here for five decades!

All: Wash her out! Wash her out!

Lyn: My grandfather built this place! My mom ran it until she died! My sister and I are working so fucking hard-- Oh, my God!

Emma: That's my sister, you fucking cunt!

Nico: Emma! Emma! Emma! Emma! No, officer, officer, she threw the detergent.

Lyn: Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

Emma: Let me see you. Come here.

Lyn: I can't open my eyes.

Emma: Oh, my God, okay. It's okay. It's gonna be okay.

Lyn: What is this?

Nico: Mister, hey!

Lyn: Oh, no. No, I think that's just making it worse.

Emma: Come on, let's wash it off.

The thugs are dispersed by the police and Emma helps Lyn wash the detergent out of her eyes.

I expect that this is not the last the sisters will hear from Los Vigilantes. The group jumped the shark because, in their virtue-shaming of the small business owners who employ workers from the neighborhood, they lost sight of the fact that the sisters are of the neighborhood, too. Their grandfather built the building fifty years ago and the family has always lived there. They are not a part of gentrification. They are a part of the neighborhood.

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