Entertainment

‘Pose’ Is Going Where Few Shows Have Gone Before And It’s Thanks To Afro-Latino Co-Creator Steven Canals

Pose is unlike any other show on television. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the series’ esteemed accolades. Last month, Pose earned six Emmy nominations. Co-creator Steven Canals will be the first Latinx producer ever nominated for a drama Emmy. It is the first show that features a predominately POC and LGBTQ+ cast and crew to be nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. Writers Janet Mock and Lady J are the first Emmy-nominated trans producers. Meanwhile, Billy Porter is the first openly gay black person to be nominated for Outstanding Lead in a Drama Series. 

This is a lot of firsts. None of which could be possible without the Bronx-born Latinx, Steven Canals drawing from his experiences growing up in New York City. Pose shows that when LGBTQ folks and people of color are given the space to tell their own stories, people will watch. 

Pose is magic.

Credit: poseonfx / Instagram

Pose follows the lives of black and Latinx transwomen and queer men as they strive for autonomy, identity, and community through ballroom culture in 1980s and 1990s New York City. The series is visually stunning and emotionally gripping. Watching MJ Rodriguez as Blanca trying to do right by her chosen family, which is made up of other LGBTQ+ folks who’ve been rejected by their biological families and society at large, is like watching any mama trying to do right by her young. The themes are relatable, but the stories are fresh, new, and insightful because they focus on queer experiences that are too often relegated to the fringes of culture. 

Basically, what I am saying is stream Pose on FXNOW or Netflix. 

A new Latinx visionary. 

Credit: svcanals / Instagram

Steven Canals grew up in The Bronx in the 1980s. After spending years in higher education, riddled with self-doubt about whether he could compete in Hollywood, Canals finally decided to pursue his dreams. 

“And so finally, after five years, I was so tired of beating myself up and just so happened upon a career quiz that suggested I become a screenwriter. I sat with that for a little bit, and then about a week or so later I discovered UCLA’s online screenwriting program on a random film blog. I immediately applied, was accepted, and enrolled in the program while still working on-campus full-time,” Canals told Buzzfeed

Canals experienced homophobia and bullying from his peers while navigating the homophobic propaganda presented in the mainstream media in the 1980s. 

“Obviously I like being a queer person now, but [in the ’80s and ’90s] I either couldn’t or didn’t want to see what some people were seeing in me because there were no LGBTQ role models that could point to and say, ‘Look, it’s fine.’ [To me, this community] was still living under the cloud that was HIV, AIDS, homophobia, and just so much misinformation,” he said. 

That feeling when you get to see yourself on screen.

Credit: poseonfx / Instagram

Canals based Damon’s character, a young queer dancer with big dreams and a difficult home life, on himself. The characters of Blanca and Helena were based on the strong women he had in his life. 

“There are a lot of very strong, independent, and complicated women in Pose and it comes out of having spent an entire life being surrounded by women who are all of those things,” Canals said.

Latinx representation is sorely lacking.  A study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that 47 percent of the 1,200 surveyed films did not have any Latinx speaking roles. Only 3 percent of the highest-grossing movies from 2007 to 2018 had a Latinx actor as a lead or co-lead. Only 17 out of 1,200 films had a Latinx woman in a leading role. Moreover, the study notes that fair-skinned Latinx actors are expected to portray white characters, while Afro-Latinx actors are expected to play black American characters. In both cases, Latinx identity is erased. 

LGBTQ+ representation hit a record high in 2018, with 8.8% of TV characters identifying as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, according to GLAAD’s annual TV diversity report. For the first time, LGBTQ+ people of color outnumbered white LGBTQ+ characters. However, this is largely due to the singular effort of Pose. 

“GLAAD counted 26 trans characters on TV, which is nine more than last year. A significant percentage of that progress was driven by Ryan Murphy’s new series Pose on FX, which has five new trans characters,” according to the Verge.  

The power of diversity on and off-screen.

Credit: poseonfx / Instagram

The cast and crew of Pose have had a transformative effect on representation. The show has queer people telling stories from queer history with allusions to the infamous drag queen and fashion designer Dorian Corey to a slew of consultants whose real lives revolve around drag and ballroom culture. 

“That’s why it was so critically important for us at Pose to have the [actual] ballroom community be part of our process and the show’s narrative as consultants, choreographers, and experts, not just providing a seat at the table but also compensating them for taking a seat,” Canals said. 

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Billy Porter Reflects On The Privilege To Get Back To Work During The Pandemic

Entertainment

Billy Porter Reflects On The Privilege To Get Back To Work During The Pandemic

The pandemic has left us hyper-focused on cleanliness and hygiene. This new normal has expanded to envelope everything in life, like work. Billy Porter, in partnership with Clorox® Scentiva®, spoke with mitú about working post-quarantine and a sweepstakes to help people upgrade their homes.

Billy Porter is grateful to have been able to get back to work after an uncertain year of quarantine.

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The pandemic shut down nearly every aspect of life over the past year. This includes production on television shows and movies while we waited to learn how the virus spread. Porter was one of the entertainers who had to wait to see what his job looked like. Covid protocols and disinfecting practices allowed him to get back to what he loved.

“My momma in the church always said that cleanliness is next to godliness so I’m trying to be as spiritually hive minded as I possibly can,” Porter says. “Keeping myself clean, keeping my space clean. Keeping my life clean and in order. It is a blessing and a gift to be able to get back to work in this time.”

Porter acknowledges that his ability to work during this time is something that so many people are unable to relate to. He recognizes the privilege he has in being able to go back to filming the final season of “Pose.”

The show is such a powerful moment of representation for queer and trans people of color.

Trans and queer people of color have long been ignored by both mainstream media and within the LGBTQ+ community. “Pose” was a time for the community to truly shine while telling the story of a generation that fought for their lives.

Porter is grateful to have the chance to be one of the players making the stories come to life. When he first started acting, the idea of a show like “Pose” was impossible.

“I also am grateful that I get to be a vessel to tell the story of the generation of people who were my friends whose legacy I get to lay out for the world and on whose shoulders I stand,” Porter says. “It was so great to go back post-quarantine to the set.”

You can join the #YasClean sweepstakes to get some cash to renovate your home.

Click here to enter the Yas Clean sweepstakes and you can win an addition $5,000 for a charity as well.

READ: ‘Pose’ Will Be Ending After Its Upcoming 3rd Season and Fans Are Crushed

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A New Film Called ‘Trans Los Angeles’ Is Coming Out and It Features Mostly Queer, Latinx Talent

Entertainment

A New Film Called ‘Trans Los Angeles’ Is Coming Out and It Features Mostly Queer, Latinx Talent

Photos via Getty Images

If you’re afraid there is going to be a big “Pose”-shaped hole in your heart after the upcoming final season, then we might have some good news for you. A new movie called “Trans Los Angeles” might be just what the doctor ordered.

On Wednesday, Deadline announced that a new movie called “Trans Los Angeles” is officially in the works.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough, the cast of “Trans Los Angeles” will feature a range of LGBTQ Latinx talent, including Stephanie Beatriz, Carmen Carrera, and YaYa Gosselin. The movie is the vision of up-and-coming transgender writer/director Kase Peña.

According to Deadline, “Trans Los Angeles” will be an anthology film, made up of four four stand-alone shorts. Each segment will focus on a different character in a different part of Los Angeles and spotlight the different and varying lives of trans people.

One of the stand-alone shorts has buzz around it already. The anthology installment “Period” will star the aforementioned Latinx superstars Stephanie Beatriz, Carmen Carrera, and YaYa Gosselin.

Per Deadline, “Period” will center on a Latinx transgender woman named Vergara (Carmen Carrera) who has recently been released from LA County jail. Vergara “gets a part-time job taking care of a shy 12-year-old girl (YaYa Gosselin), while doing sex work on the side, to make ends meet.” However, things become complicated for Vergara because “sex work is what got her locked up in the first place.”

“Trans Los Angeles” will be, without a doubt, trailblazing. It is rare that Hollywood makes movies with transgender people as main characters and transgender artists inhabiting the roles. So far, Panavision, Light Iron Post, WarnerMedia, and Latino Lens are backing “Trans Los Angeles”. The WeHo Transgender Arts Initiative grant is also partially-funding the film.

Excited for the news, fans and fellow celebrities alike flooded the social media accounts of all of those involved, offering their endless support and congratulations.

“So happy for you!!!! 👏👏👏” wrote Eva Longoria. Another fan added “Can’t wait to see this, Carmen!! YOU GO GIRL!!!”. Writer/director Kase Peña commented: “It’s only the beginning. That’s all. ❤️🔥”

Last year, Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival selected Peña to participate in a Netflix’s Latinx Inclusion Fellowship Series. The fact that Peña was able to get such an ambitious project off the ground shows that it just takes a bit of effort on Hollywood’s part for more diverse stories to get made.

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