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10’s Across the Board: Why 'Pose' Deserves Every 2021 Emmy Nomination
Pose has been entertaining, engaging, and informing audiences for three seasons now. The series dropped first in 2018 and has blazed a history-making and blueprint-setting path while amassing an international fandom, all itching to be a part of the House of Evangelista. As critic Tre'vell Anderson pointed out in our Pride issue: "Simply put, no show to date has done for Black and brown queer and trans visibility and opportunity what Pose has done since its 2018 debut." The show tells the story of Black and brown queer and trans folks in ways that are nuanced, holistic, and frankly disrupt the ways Hollywood has portrayed these characters in the past.
For this, the show has been given some of the most ultimate honors: outstanding critical reception, a Peabody Award, and the cast and crew have gone on to be booked for bigger projects. But the show's excellence shows through on every level and it all deserves to be recognized -- especially in its final season. So here are 6 reasons we need the Television Academy to stop playing in Pose's face and give them the nominations they deserve.
1.) It's the story we need today.
Culture and society have shifted. Though there's long been an infatuation with and coverage of subcultures and various marginalized communities, Pose has taken up space in unprecedented ways. In the midsts of the Black Lives Matter and Trans Lives Matter movements, the show has put their lives at the forefront and committed to telling them in ways that are both accurate but ultimately aspirational. The project has woven true history into its narratives, commemorating actual lived experiences into its lore, and done so by calling on those inspirations to help guide the portrayals.
This is the type of television that culture has been asking for and is the type of fare that should be up for Outstanding Drama Series.
2.) Billy Porter is doing the things that need to be done.
In 2019, Billy Porter became the first out Black gay man to win an acting Emmy for his portrayal of Pray Tell on Pose. At the time audiences were regaled with the authenticity -- and theatricality -- of the character. It meant something for Pray Tell to be as queer and as Black, as he was onscreen, unabashedly so and we watched him as he was diagnosed with HIV and figured out the rest of his life. Season three does not let up with Porter stealing episode after episode, either battling with alcohol addiction to cope with the tragedies around him or confronting his fears with particularly moving moments reconnecting with his family. That we now know that much of this was inspired by Porter's personal experiences, having disclosed to the world that he is living with HIV, makes the depictions all the more poignant.
He deserves another Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series nomination -- and win if we're being honest.
3.) Mj Rodriguez is the mother we all need but have never seen.
Since season one, Mj Rodriguez has portrayed Blanca the young mother of the upstart House of Evangelista. We have watched her put family above all, first building that family and imparting wisdom (and protection) to her kids, before continuing to be their place of solace and refuge after they have moved on. It's even extended, showing her as a support system for her chosen mother! This continues to be the case in season three, with Blanca searching to find who she is outside of just being a mother. And while this may sound like average television fare, that this is all being done by a Black trans woman resets the narrative as never before on television have trans women been allowed such holistic lives.
Mj Rodriguez has done all of this with aplomb, serving as the beating heart of the series. She's made it clear that she can hold her own in a scene, even carry scenes if need be, and that deserves recognition more than anything else. We look forward to seeing her Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series nomination.
4.) Pose finally rewrites media narratives for the better.
When we've seen Black and brown queer and trans people in the media in the past, their stories have often been reduced to playing second fiddle, or they meet a tragic (and sometimes graphic) end. This has happened similarly with roles depicting those living with HIV. Through the work of Pose's writers including Janet Mock, Steven Canals, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuck, and Our Lady J, these narratives are reclaimed, rewritten, and reimagined. While death is a reality, it comes as a part of a full life and is an inspiration to the audience as well as other characters to live life more fervently. This could not happen without the integral writing on the show which deserves honors on its own. Where else are you going to watch a group of Black trans women go through the classic television trope of organizing and pulling off a wedding, while also navigating the ways in which it is different for them with nuance and care -- while not shying away from the glamour and frivolity of it all --other than Pose?
They should definitely be a shoe-in for an Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series nomination.
5.) And we can't forget about the ballroom scenes.
Pose is more than just its leads and its writers; it is a full cast and crew production. With hundreds on set working on everything from production assistants, to background players and assistants, the show has pulled from the community it is portraying in a structure that is to be emulated. Intricate ballroom scenes come to fruition under the careful eye of choreographers like Twiggy Pucci Garcon and more. All of this with beautiful cinematography and a soundtrack that has us rushing to Spotify every episode. The nomination possibilities are honestly endless.
6.) But let's talk about the looks!
Though Pose has long had a luxe appeal, for season three the hair, makeup, and costuming teams took it all to levels previously untold. From borrowing coats from Beyonce herself to making sure Blanca Evangelista's baby hairs were as perfect as possible, they truly did what needed to be done. And as a result: every frame of the show is an image worthy of painting.
Give the girls their roses with Outstanding Contemporary Hairstyling, Outstanding Contemporary Costumes, and Outstanding Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic) nods immediately!