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“I Like it Like That”

A man sits with his arm around a women, and there are two children sitting next to her. They are on long red seat in what looks like a Ferris wheel car. They look happy together.

“I Like It Like That” is a 1994 American comedy-drama film about the trials and tribulations of a young Puerto Rican man and a half Jamaican half Puerto Rican woman living in a poverty-stricken New York City neighborhood in the South Bronx. The film stars Lauren Velez, Jon Seda, Lisa Vidal, Griffin Dunne, Jesse Borrego and Rita Moreno, and was written and directed by Darnell Martin.

This film was groundbreaking for a few reasons: 1) It was the first major motion picture to give an accurate, authentic and nuanced depiction of a Puerto Rican diasporic family trying to make it in NYC. 2) The family is Puerto Rican/Nuyorican and the main characters in the family are all actually Puerto Rican/Nuyorican. 3) The film’s lead, Lisette, is an Afro-Boricua! In a world where the mainstream depiction of Latine/x is usually white-washed (and when darker Latine/x are displayed, they are relegated to roles depicting “the help”), a black Latina not only gets to star in a film but is able to embody a charismatic character that is desirable, smart, and strong. 4) It features a trans character (albeit not played by an actual trans person) that is successful, confident and funny, during a time when IF there was a trans character in a film or tv series- they were typically there to be the butt of the joke. 5) This was writer/director Darnell Martin’s filmmaking debut and she became the first African-American female filmmaker to take helm of a film produced by a major film studio (Columbia Pictures).