POSE: Season 1 Review

Pose is an FX original series that is set in New York during the late 1980’s where the LGBT community is still finding it’s light in the dark. Ronald Reagan is still President and the HIV epidemic is at large. In dark times like this, a stigmatized community needs to find a haven where they can be themselves without persecution or discrimination. In this time period, the term “Ball” resonates through the LGBT community that is defined as a place where the unaccepted are accepted; where the “odd” can be as odd as they want; where they can “Slay”, “Work, and “Pose”. It is a hidden world undiscovered by the streets of New York.

The series’ main character goes by the name Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), who leaves the House of Abundance to start her own house where she can be her own mother and recover people of all backgrounds off the streets to give them shelter and also have them compete at the ball. The ball is a night where all the houses compete in posing competition where the only way to win is to get a 10 all across the board. Blanca is a fearless transgender woman who fights for herself, her community, and her family. She has ambition, courage, compassion, and fierceness. The actions she takes to better her community resonate through her loved ones as she tries to make the streets a better place for her kind. A great example is when she tries to go to a gay bar to celebrate her recent win from the ball, but isn’t served because she’s not a “man”. After that incident she protest by going to the bar every night until she gets a drink from the bar.

In this series, you’ll find that every character has a story that is being told. All of the people that Blanca brings into her House have completely different backgrounds because she doesn’t shy away from anyone that needs a place to stay. Damon Richard (Ryan Jamal Swain) is a 17 year old homosexual who was kicked out of his home because of religious persecution. Lil Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel) was a hustler in the streets selling drugs even after he moved into Blanca’s home. Angel (Indya Moore) is a fellow transgender who came from the same house as Blanca but is keen on selling her body on the streets and Pray Tell (Billy Porter) struggles dealing with HIV+ along with his boyfriend who’s hospitalized for pneumonia. Everyone in Blanca’s “House of Evangelista” has a story that is expressed throughout the series and it up to Blanca, in her own mind, to give them a better life and to better themselves. She’s is a very selfless queen who gives kids like Damon a chance to be a dancer, or giving old queens like Elektra (Dominique Jackson), who discarded Blanca for leaving the House of Abundance, a place to stay after her white boyfriend kicked her out for becoming a “full” woman.

Every character has a heartfelt story that can resonate through viewers of LGBT while wowing them with the colorful, vibrant culture of the Ball. It’s a place where everyone is accepted, which wasn’t present in the 1980’s; instead there was turmoil, discrimination, and the AIDS epidemic that the rest of New York tried disregarding. This show will have you crying tears of sorrow and joy at the same time because in every cloud of darkness there’s a beam of light that shines in every episode. For those who are caught up with the series, I’d start watching season 2 if I were you.

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