5 Reasons Why Pose is That B*tch…

“And the category is”: Have you watched Pose yet? If you have not watched FX’s hit show Pose, consider yourself on the outskirts of the zeitgeist. But don’t worry, I’ll catch you up. Pose is set in the 1980s and early 1990s New York City in the heart of the underground ballroom culture scene. The characters of this series are divided up into “houses,” in which they live and compete against other houses in a ballroom. It is visually stunning, with charismatic characters, and a storyline that will pull at your heartstrings every episode. Pose has already claimed a spot in television history by starring five trans cast members, as well as a mostly LGBTQ cast in a primetime series, but also produced by a trans person of color. Pose is showcasing a moment in Black history that has spanned decades and influenced pop culture.

Here are five reasons why Pose is THE show to watch.

Community

Although the characters on Pose do not always get along, one thing is for certain, they stick together no matter what. Studies have shown that the number of transgender people varies between 0.3% and 0.6%. Not only is the representation and visibility of trans people and members of the LGBTQ community important in such a popular series, but it also humanizes a community that we may not understand or have much knowledge about. The need for community is evident in marginalized communities such as LGBTQ+ and trans communities. When one member of their community is challenged or faced with hardship, they rally behind one another for support. Such a love for one another is truly moving to see. The strength of the sisterhood and brotherhood of the characters on this show illustrates unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness, things that we can all learn from.

Pose Serves LOOKS

As a die-hard fashion nerd, I was immediately attracted to the glitz and glamour of the show. There’s a grittiness, and street appeal to the aesthetic of the characters but there’s also class and couture. The ballroom scenes each episode demonstrate sheer creativity and innovation. You will be screaming at your television rooting for these characters as you would do your friends. The personal aesthetics of each of the characters completely illustrate the color and flamboyance of not only the 1980s but the underground ballroom scene as well. Not only are the whimsical ballroom scene costumes to die for, but the regular, everyday wear of the characters takes you back down memory lane of the 80s and 90s fashions. The looks served in this series have garnered recognition, as three of the show’s six 2019 Emmy nominations are in Outstanding Period Costumes, Outstanding Hairstyling, and Outstanding Makeup.

It’s Really, Really Funny

Honey, when I tell you, they read each other for filth on this show, it’s no joke! But it kind of is. The fierce dialogue between house mothers, the children, and other characters is hilarious. They will drag one another as hard as they love one another. Lest we forget the iconic scene in season two, when house mother and all-out diva, Elektra, read a white woman at a country club for asking them to leave because they were trans (Please Google this scene if you have not seen it!) The quick-witted way each of the characters speak will not only leave you gagging and gasping for air, but you most likely will be rolling on the floor laughing, too!

Woke AF

I’ll be honest, I expected Pose to be a catty, drama-filled show, and in no way did I expect to be as moved as I am by how woke this show is. It is truly a learning experience watching this program. You will learn about the trans community and how they navigate society, and all of the troubles that come with it. Pose sheds light on a profession that we tend to sweep under the rug, sex work. According to the Human Rights Campaign (hrc.org), anti-transgender bias puts transgender individuals at risk of poverty, homelessness, or sex work to survive, all of which are discussed on the show. Whether it is Candy or Angel turning to prostitution, Lulu being a stripper, or Elektra being a dominatrix, Pose always shows us that there is more to being a sex worker. They are humans just trying to make ends meet. A big emotional component to the show’s storyline is the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 80s and 90s. Two of the beloved main characters, Pray Tell and Blanca, are both HIV positive. The show displays the devastation that HIV/AIDS brings to their community, loved ones, and friends. While they accurately depict how tragic this disease can be, they also show people fighting against it, being proactive about HIV testing, and activism against the stigma of the disease and rights for trans people.

Spotlight on Trans Violence

One of the most talked-about episodes of this series, and maybe one of the most important television episodes ever is Season 2, episode 4 entitled “Never Knew Love Like This Before” in which a main character, Candy, was violently murdered. This episode was truly heartbreaking and difficult to digest, as this was a main character that we all loved, but the topic of the episode hit too close to home. Trans women of color are being murdered at an alarmingly high rate. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2018, 26 deaths of transgender people were tracked. In 2019, so far, 19 transgender people have died at the hands of a violent act. Trans people of color live on the intersection of racism, homophobia, sexism, and transphobia which can lead to a culture of violence brought on by anti-trans people. Due to this culture of violence against trans women of color, the life expectancy is 35-years-old. When accepting the Cover of the Year Award for ELLE magazine, Pose actor, Indya Moore, boldly stated, “The award we all deserve is to get home safe. I accept this award in good faith that my recognition doesn’t lead to the erasure of other trans and gender-non-conforming folks who also deserve healthcare, housing, safety, and visibility.” I couldn’t agree more.

black girl empowerment

 

Pose is a glimpse into a subculture that many do not know about and also highlights the experiences of Black and Latinx trans and LGBTQ people. Aside from my shortlist of reasons to watch Pose, it is a critically acclaimed show. Pose has earned six Emmy nominations and has been renewed for a third season (Yay!). If you have not seen Pose yet, please do yourself a favor and watch season one, which is available on Netflix, and follow-up with season 2 which is available on FXNow.

Courtney D. Johnson is a fashion industry professional, or “pro-fashion-al” as she likes to call it, a freelance stylist, and writer. She is a published and award-winning fashion scholar and researcher, and a proud HBCU alumna. Courtney loves to research and write about Black beauty, style, and culture, as well as being an advocate for mental health. She is a proud auntie who loves to spend time with her nieces and nephews, friends, and family as much as she can. Courtney currently resides in the greatest city in the world, New Orleans, LA. Follow her on Instagram @_xoxocourtney

Featured photo: Out Magazine

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