Entertainment ‘The Get Down,’ on Netflix, brings back the Boogie Down Bronx By Wendy Lu Special to amNewYork Updated August 9, 2016 6:54 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email The Boogie Down Bronx comes back to life on Netflix in “The Get Down.” The late-1970s hip-hop drama series from Baz Luhrmann, the filmmaker best known for “Moulin Rouge,” depicts a group of young black kids with big dreams in the poverty-stricken South Bronx. It’s filmed on an elaborate, graffiti-covered set in Glendale, Queens, that resurrects the era’s grungy feel, and all over the area, including the neighborhood at its center. Grandmaster Flash, the series’ associate producer, a South Bronx native and a pioneering artist, says it’s important for people to know about the origins of hip-hop and where the movement began. “This little teeny place called the South Bronx, without realizing it, we created something that has become global,” Flash says. Comprised of at least 12 one-hour episodes, “The Get Down” is a rare potpourri of music, art, dance and fashion – a story about the creation of hip-hop culture in the middle of disco’s glory days. The first six episodes are scheduled to debut on Aug. 12. Photo Credit: Netflix / Myles Aronowitz It follows teenagers Mylene Cruz (Herizen Guardiola, left) and Ezekiel "Books" Figuero (Justice Smith), an aspiring rapper and disco singer, respectively, pursuing careers in music set against the burgeoning scene in the borough at the time. Guardiola says the show's characters are "literally kids of the '70s," with the same dreams and living circumstances as those who lived back then. Photo Credit: Netflix / Myles Aronowitz One of the most striking aspects of "The Get Down," says Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who plays a disco king named Cadillac, is that Mylene, Books and their friends don't realize that they're at the epicenter of a new, then-nameless movement that goes on to change the landscape of music. "They're just trying to make it to tomorrow and trying to impress their girlfriends or get some new shoes or do the things that teenagers want to do," Abdul-Mateen says. Photo Credit: Netflix Choreographers Rich and Tone, who have previously worked with big-ticket names like Michael Jackson and Jennifer Lopez, say "The Get Down" allowed them to help tell the story of an industry that began with nothing but a "spark." The two brothers are self-taught dancers -- "kids off of the street" -- who grew up in the early '80s and were born into the hip-hop movement. "'The Get Down' was a chance for us to give back to a culture that created us -- and that is the hip-hop culture," Rich says. Photo Credit: Netflix Costume designer Jeriana San Juan says "The Get Down" isn't just about the story of hip-hop music, but also the other elements surrounding that culture, including the fashion, graffiti art and break dancing. For "The Get Down," San Juan worked with several original designers for '70s fashion. That meant original Kegel hats, Cazal sunglasses, Halston gowns and around 10,000 PRO-Keds. San Juan said having the characters don original pieces of clothing and accessories meant being able to "represent people at the time authentically, and with truth." Photo Credit: Wendy Lu The production team also brought in Crash and Daze, two legendary graffiti artists who grew up in the South Bronx during that time period. They served as consultants and provided artwork for the show. "I look at the Bronx in the 1970s as the Do-It-Yourself decade," Daze says. "People who lived there were left up to their own (devices) to provide their own entertainment." Crash says "The Get Down" made him feel nostalgic for the '70s Bronx, adding that "the music is so on point." Photo Credit: Netflix Abdul-Mateen agrees, saying he hopes the soundtrack will make its way to clubs and radios once it's officially released. Photo Credit: Netflix Whether it's a passion for art, dance or music, the scrappy teenagers in "The Get Down" prove that if you can make it in the Bronx, you can make it anywhere, he says. "It's not just a story about hip-hop. It's not even just a story about New York. People can't forget that," says Abdul-Mateen. "All of those characters are fighting to hold onto the thing that they love the most." By Wendy Lu Special to amNewYork Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic Our picks for what to stream on NetflixGet to the couch and get comfortable. Netflix's 'Binge Scale' reveals average consumption time for showsThe "Binge Scale" reveals that customers "savor" irreverent comedies and political dramas. 26 shows to watch on Amazon Prime "The Grand Tour," "Mr. Robot" and more series worth your binge time. Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.