By Upendra Dattal
Rose” The hit series, created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals which first debuted back in 2018, is a queer musical-dance series and If you’re not already familiar, Pose is a groundbreaking drama that has proudly shaken the world to its very core with its deep dive into the 80’s New York City ballroom scene at the height of the AIDS crisis. Ryan cumulated everything by trying to grab the widest audience possible without downplaying the social issues which Hollywood has been too skittish to frankly address and which the mainstream audience has never been able to see, thanks to virulent homophobia and AIDS fear.
The show is about the struggles of the queer community, trans, non-binary colored people during the late ’80s and early ’90s in America but at the same time giving high camp classics.
“Pose” wears its purpose confidently but lightly. Yes, it’s a story of struggle — the AIDS crisis is a constant shadow — but it also spotlights its characters’ aspirations such as Blanca working as a Nurse, Angel becoming a supermodel, Lil Papi becoming successful with Angel, Damon being a dancer.The series continues to refine the stories, the plot, the characters but most of all the tone, as the show proceeds it carries itself as if it is not doing something but refining the concept that has been there forever in the society.
Even though the show has lot to offer there are few of the things that seems to be worth noticing and paving history in the hollywood.
The series consists of the main characters have been unceremoniously discarded by their families and forced into the clandestine realms of the survival economy. Pose maps a path of this displacement. There is Damon Richards, a timid and uncertain teenager victimized by his parents’ virulent homophobia; there is Lil Papi, a shifty orphan governed by visceral street knowledge; there is Angel, a ballroom goddess trapped in the sticky webs of streetlight prostitution; and there is Ricky, a smooth-talker who sleeps on a park bench near the pier.
These wayward kids, united in exile, make a home out of each other. In the deeply queer tradition of ballroom culture, they are swept into a network of substitutive “houses”—alternate families for those rejected by their biological ones and thats how a concept of ball mother born.
The show tells that someone doesn’t have to be inherited to a group of people to call as family, a family can be chosen.
One of the major highlights of the show was representation, which we can see as the story proceed in the show, as how the actors starts taking their career seriously and stand for their identity. In a recent interview with Variety, actor Billy Porter asked how he could be of service to a system that views his authenticity as a liability. That system is Hollywood, which has historically rejected gay black actors like him, or reduced them to comic stereotypes. Its the bitter truth of society we live in governed with cis het men.
But the show has some of the very powerful scenes like the marriage of angel with lil papi
The second season of the show documented ballroom culture in the nineties and in the very first episode, the concept of ‘voguing’ was explored. The show depicts it as a stylized, house dance that originated in Harlem in the mid-to-late eighties.
Most accounts place the origins of voguing in the ballrooms of 1980s New York, birthed by the black and Latinx queer communities of Harlem. Between the 1960s and 1980s, the city’s drag competitions had transformed from pageantry-style balls to voguing battles. Trans, gay and queer contestants would compete for trophies and the reputation of their ‘house family’ by walking categories, including Executive Realness or Town & Country.
The show also explores Madonna’s influence on voguing as the song Vogue from her second album I’m Breathless released in the early nineties. This is actually very realistic because Madonna’s song did shed light on voguing and helped it gain mainstream relevance, which until then, was only a niche form of dance.