“It’s really exciting to see the ways that all of these really talented performers who just needed an opportunity, just needed a chance to show that they have the goods, now have opportunities beyond our show,” says “Pose” co-creator and showrunner Steven Canals about how his series has opened doors for the Black and brown artists from the queer community who made up the show’s cast for its three seasons. “I hope that the industry at large continues to use ‘Pose’ as a case study to say, this is what we really should continue to do.” We talked with Canals for our “FX Writing for Inclusion” panel. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
“Pose” tells the story of gay and trans New Yorkers looking for community amid discrimination and the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s. And from the very beginning the show received attention for having more trans actors in its regular cast than any other program in history. But this shouldn’t be the end point for representation in media. “We should continue to invest in stories that historically have been pushed to the margins,” Canals explains. “And we should continue to invest specifically in Black and Latinx, indigenous, and Asian voices because we’re way past this moment in our industry where those narratives are simply seen as niche. The reality is that niche is now the new mainstream and our modern-day audience really does want more specificity in their narratives.”
That kind of representation is important for more than just the people being hired now. It’s important for those who might hope to be hired in the future. “I grew up in housing projects in the South Bronx, and this was in the midst of both the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the crack epidemic, both of which are highlighted on ‘Pose.’ And there were no models. There was no one that was living in my neighborhood … who was aspiring to make it in Hollywood.” Those examples were hard to come by in his community, and they were also missing from most of the media he consumed, “so once I made the decision to move to Los Angeles to pursue this career, it became all the more important for me to craft narratives where my community is centered positively.”
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