"Pose" New York Premiere
Getty Images

4 Lessons Learned From 'Pose' As The Fight For Equality Emerges

Dreams, identity politics, shade, and discrimination. 

The first episode of Pose leaves you readily wanting to know what’s going to happen next. A homeless kid from Pennsylvania (Damon) gets into a prestigious dance school and finds a home. Blanca, his newfound mother, has dreams of her own. And then there’s the looming presence of the power dynamics of wealth, class, race and sexual identity.

In the second episode, the stakes are higher, and there’s more worth fighting for to gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies that take agency when dreams become a reality. Blanca wants to feel accepted as a transgender woman with hopes of creating social change for all, and Damon runs into a serendipitous love affair. Beneath these main points, a storyline between a sex worker and a white collar job employee surfaces: He’s a white man thriving in Donald Trump's New York City takeover (Stan), and she’s a poor transgender woman (Angel).

Through their experiences so far, here are four lessons we’ve learned from Sunday night’s (June 10) episode of Pose.   

The teaching of sex-ed: After meeting at a ball, Damon and his newfound love interest Ricky (Dyllon Burnside) begin to explore the next step of their romance: sex. That same night, Ricky takes Damon on a date to Christopher Street Pier, a well-known enclave for NYC's LGBT youth. After a brief conversation, Ricky attempts to have sex with Damon; his efforts get rejected. After Damon gets home the next morning, Blanca is furious with him for staying out late. She questions if he had sex with Ricky, and later explained to him the different roles gay men play in intercourse. There’s the top - the one who is penetrating the other anally, and the bottom - the one on the receiving end. She also mentions the importance of condoms. Damon is oblivious to this new and necessary information and becomes overwhelmed with emotion before expressing his gratitude to Blanca.

Nothing to lose. Everything is possible. #PoseFX

A post shared by Pose FX (@poseonfx) on

The stark marginalization of trans women within the LGBT community: In an episode titled “Access,” Blanca’s plight with getting inside an establishment that is ruled by white gay men is difficult to witness. She attempts various times to sit down and have a drink at Boy Lounge where on one occasion, she gets physically dragged out by the owner, and in another scene, she gets arrested. When she was being detained, the only black gay man in the venue shunned her. Because Blanca is a transgender woman, the mostly white gay men at the bar want nothing to do with her. This highlights the discrimination many trans people face from people who are part of their same community. In this case, her sexual identity played more of a deciding factor than her race did. Oftentimes, both are equally a factor.

The notion of fragile identity politics: After Stan (Evan Peters), who works at Trump Towers, learns that Angel (Indya Moore), a sex worker, is a transgender woman, his feelings for Angel overpower any negative notion he may have had and offered her an apartment and an allowance to be his girlfriend. While Angel agrees, there’s more to this offer than just that — Stan seems like he doesn’t really know (or fits in) with his identity as a cis-white middle-class man who's married with children. His desires seem to conflict with what his identity is supposed to represent in society.

“I can buy things I can’t afford, which means they are never really mine. I don’t live. I don’t believe. I accumulate. I am a brand. A middle-class white guy,” he tells Angel. “But you are who you are even though the price you pay for it is being disinvited from the rest of the world. I am the one playing dress up. Is it wrong to want to be with one of the few people in the world who isn’t? To have one person in my life who I know is real?”

The significance of status in the ballroom scene: Blanca's release from jail was spearheaded by her arch nemesis Elektra, but the latter's intentions behind this seemingly goodhearted gesture were far from gentle. Elektra bailed out Blanca because she solely wanted a rematch for a trophy at a ball competition. That’s how serious the ballroom scene is to her — it provides a space of pure acceptance in a world that constantly disapproves of people like her. While Blanca wants to gain power outside of the ballroom scene, Elektra wants to keep her power within — even if that’s the only vehicle of strength she thinks can protect her from the world.

Step out and own everything. #PoseFX

A post shared by Pose FX (@poseonfx) on

From the Web

More on Vibe

Photos by Brad Barket/Getty Images for STARZ and Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

50 Cent And Kenya Barris Developing TV Series Based On 'The 50th Law'

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is teaming up with actor and director Kenya Barris to create a television series based on Jackson's New York Times bestseller, The 50th Law, co-written by author Robert Greene. The Power executive producer and black-ish creator will join forces to create an original show that will stream on Netflix. No word on its premiere date or who has been cast for the series.

In true, 50 Cent fashion, Jackson took to his official Instagram to celebrate and share the news. "Netflix now you know this is a problem, Kenya Barris is no joke," reads his post's caption. "And if me and you ain’t cool, you ain’t gonna make it. 😆Let’s work! 💣Boom🔥 🚦GreenLight Gang #bransoncognac #lecheminduroi #bottlerover"

Jackson will serve as co-producer by way of his G-Unit Film & Television company which has a hand in Starz's Power Book II: Ghost and ABC's For Life. Barris will work alongside his #blackAF co-executive producer Hale Rothstein for the pilot and show's script under his production company, Khalabo Ink Society.

Speaking of Khalabo Ink Society, Barris' and his company will have a hand in a couple of upcoming projects: Kid Cudi's upcoming adult animated music series, Entergalactic and MGM's upcoming biopic on the career and life of comedy legend, Richard Pryor.

Fif's G-Unit Film & Television imprint, more original programming is on the way: Power Book III: Raising Kanan premieres this summer and Black Mafia Family has begun shooting its series debut. His current shows —Power Book II; and For Life—have been renewed for another season on Starz and ABC, respectively.

Jackson and Greene's The 50th Law is a semi-autobiographical book that tackles lessons around fearlessness and strategy while including inspiring stories from 50 Cent's life and tales from notable historical figures. It went on to be a New York Times Bestseller in 2009.

Continue Reading
Photos by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images and Gilles Petard/Redferns

Questlove Is Directing A Sly Stone Documentary

The Roots' own Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson will be directing a documentary about the life of Sly Stone, founding member of legendary funk band, Sly and the Family Stone.

The untitled feature film "follows the story of the influential artist, king of funk, and fashion icon Sly Stone, a musician who was breaking all the rules at a time when doing so was extremely challenging, even dangerous. The pressure of explosive mainstream pop success and the responsibility of representing Black America forced him to walk the fine line of impossible expectations."

“It goes beyond saying that Sly’s creative legacy is in my DNA," said Questlove in a press release. "....it’s a black musician’s blueprint....to be given the honor to explore his history and legacy is beyond a dream for me.”

“Sly’s influence on popular music and culture as a whole is immeasurable, and what his career represents is a parable that transcends time and place,” expressed Amit Dey, Head of MRC Non-Fiction. “Questlove’s vision, sensitivity and reverence brings the urgency that Sly’s story and music deserve, and we’re excited to be working with him to bring Sly’s story to life.”

The project will mark the four-time Grammy Award-winning artist's second directorial project (see his Sundance award-winning Summer of Soul) by way of his Two One Five Entertainment production company. Award-winning actor and rapper Common will serve as an executive producer via his Star Child Productions along with Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone via ID8 Multimedia. Derik Murray and Brian Gersh of Network Entertainment will serve as producers with Zarah Zohlman and Shawn Gee as producing partners.

The film's official title and release date has not been announced.

Earlier today in partnership with BET Digital and Sony Music's “This Is Black” Black History Month campaign, an animated music video for the group's 1968 hit single, "Everyday People." Revisit the classic song down below.

Continue Reading

FX's 'Hip-Hop Uncovered' Shows How Big U, Deb Antney, Haitian Jack, Bimmy & Trick Trick Hustled The Game With Street Savvy

Rarely do the strong survive long enough to tell their story in their own words, so bear witness to some of the most notorious deal makers and street shakers in FX's new docu-series Hip-Hop Uncovered. Hailing from hardcore locations all over the map, California's Eugene "Big U" Henley, Queens, New York siblings James "Bimmy" Antney and Deb Antney, Detroit's Trick Trick and Brooklyn's infamous Haitian Jack, represent the mind and the muscle of the rap world's background boss section, where the real money and moves are made.

After last week's two-episode debut (Feb. 12th) of a six-episode season, we have the cast member's thoughts on what it was like taping the show and why they participated in the series. Remember, these storied behind the scenes executives are normally in the background, but are now telling their important stories that weave their importance in the industry that shapes the world...hip-hop.“A true dime is steel-heavier than a dollar.” Watch Hip-Hop Uncovered Fridays at 10 pm ET on FX.

Deb Antney: "By doing the show, it was very therapeutic. I’ve opened up and let you get a glance of what is in my Pandora’s box. I’ve shed pounds, even inches. I’m truly grateful I’m here to tell any part of my story. Now get ready for my book Unmanageable Me.

The show allowed me to showcase my truth the way it needed to be told. The Debra Antney way!

Being Debra Antney was not always glitter or gold. Like most, I went through some things. I was defiantly a product of my environment, it made me who I am today! I always knew how to get myself to the top and that’s exactly what I did. Thank you for being a part of my journey."

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by : @officialdebraantney (@debra4mizay)

Big U: "I loved filming this show. It brought up so many memories going back to the house I grew up in, remembering those special moments with family. It was fun to sort of relive my past, but the best part was really seeing my evolution. I’m such a different man today than I was back then. I feel good that the world will get to see the person I’ve become. I did it because for the first time, I knew I could be in full control of my own story, especially since I’m an Executive Producer on the series."

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by : @officialdebraantney (@debra4mizay)

Trick Trick: "[Taping the series was] weird as f---!! Because, I’m not used to that type of attention. I’m very private, but oddly enough, it was somewhat... refreshing!

[I did the show] because Big U called.”

Bimmy:

"Well, I choose to do the series because I was told who was involved from the cast to an all-Black production. Taping was like me living my past all over again and we show[ed] the world how we really lived and the things we went through."

Haitian Jack: "Taping the series, to me, was definitely a great experience.  Everybody that was on there, [producers] Oby, Rashidi and everyone else were very polite to everyone and we got everything we asked for.  When you have a crew like that, it makes it really easy for you to work with it.

[I did the show because] I like when they started to say, 'Let’s dig back into the past,' because that’s what my life is all about, the past.  The fact that Big U came up with it and hit me up with it is another reason because I respect what he is doing out there with the kids and his foundation. So I didn’t mind teaming up with him and everybody else, Deb and Trick Trick, Bimmy. I think we have a great cast and I’m proud to be a part of it.  I think we did it because we all knew where hip-hop came from because we lived it.  We wasn’t just some people who just popped up out of nowhere and started blogging about it. We were there.  We watched the deaths, we watched the lifetime prison sentences.  We lost a lot of friends to death and prison. We all lived it.  They are going to get a good account of what went on in the 70s and 80s."

Continue Reading

Top Stories