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'Pose' FX: HIV, Botched Surgical Procedures And Fetishization Stand Tall

Get ready.

A fever has spread throughout Pose. As the last episode ends with a heartwarming feeling of love and hope, episode four gives viewers a dosage of a harsh reality. Sunday night’s (June 24) premiere presents three poignant issues that still affect the world and the LGBT community. There’s HIV, dangerous plastic surgery procedures and the fetishizing of a group of people for their bodies and/or ascribed sexual prowess. Now, the stakes are higher. As the AIDS plague ravished through the 80s, naïve young men like Damon often drown in their deadly ignorance.

And transgender women (who are referred to as transsexual) still continue to fight for a place in their world. Here's how these three conundrums are highlighted in this week's episode.

Curves, body image issues, and silicone injections: In the episode’s opener, Candy Abundance (Angelica Ross), is seen strutting her stuff at a ball, but is quickly ridiculed because of her thin frame. In her eyes, beauty is defined by possessing hip hugging curves paired with a small waist and thick attributes in all the right places. If she naturally had a voluptuous body, she feels she would pass more as a biological woman. It’s a battle most transgender women grapple with considering the way their gender identity is perceived can be lethal or lifesaving.

Ultimately, Candy resorts to getting silicone injections to make her backside grow and her curves outline her figure. The scene takes place in a grimy basement with a botched looking woman who claims she received the substance from a  black market in Honduras. The dangerous procedure has grown in popularity since the 80s. Pop-culture icons like Cardi B have openly admitted to getting butt injections in random houses before the fame; others have died from these surgeries, a fate that seems to knock on  Candy’s door.

HIV/AIDS scare and its harsh reality: At The New School For Dance, Damon randomly starts feeling dizzy and a fever coming on strong. Once home, Blanca questions him heavily about his recent sexual experiences with Ricky. He sheepishly admits that once a condom slipped during intercourse, but they’ve been using protection. The panic jumps at you from the television screen as Blanca assesses Damon’s symptoms: high fever, swollen glands, and nausea—all signs that could potentially mean anyone is HIV positive.

Blanca gets together with ball MC Pray Tell (Billy Porter) and discusses how naïve Damon and Ricky are to the virus that’s plaguing their world. A nostalgic image of the Twin Towers serves as their backdrop when the two meet up at the Christopher Street Pier. To put an end to the suspense, and serve as an educational opportunity for Damon, Pray Tell takes all the boys in Blanca’s house to get an HIV test. They all test negative—except for Pray Tell. He’s devastated, but unlike Blanca, he is not forthcoming about his diagnosis and tells the boys he also tested negative.

For Porter, being emotionally present in Pray Tell’s feelings came second nature because he lived through the harsh epidemic of that time period. “I lived it, so that part of the preparation is already done,” he told Variety. “There will be roles in my life that come later, that I have to dig deeper for things. But everything that I’m doing in this show is completely and totally in my wheelhouse.”

“I feel like I’m standing [up] for all of my friends who didn’t make it and whose stories were buried for so long,” he continued. “Their stories are getting told [now] and I’m one of the people who’s getting to tell them, and that means everything to me.”

The fetishizing of transgender women: Both Angel and Elektra Abundance have relationships with men who are fixated on their trans identity. Stan reveals to Angel that he once got an erection while flipping through a dirty magazine that featured transgender women and admitted his attraction because they still have a penis.

Angel is appalled and disgusted because she feels like an experiment; more so a subject of objectification instead of genuinely loved. Then in a heated bedroom scene, Elektra’s lover and financial support system brings up the action of oral sex and that he is not in favor of her gender reassignment surgery. Elektra’s battle comes in two ways: she wants the freedom of having the full anatomy of how she identifies sexually but also wants the financial power that comes with her relationship. Despite possibly missing out on her lavish lifestyle, she chooses to move forward and complete her transition.

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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.

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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.

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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."

 

 

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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."

 

 

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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."

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