Author Note: I am a cisgender heterosexual woman. I am married woman to a wonderful man. I am also a mother, wife, best friend and I have made all digital spaces a safe space. All inboxes are open for love and support. -JBHarris
First: Billy Porter… is everything I need in this show!
I have known about POSE from the marvelous Funky Dineva (Quintin Latham). I have been following the marvelous and talented Janet Mock for years, and the utterly incredible Jahaira (if you follow no other YouTube Channel, follow JahairasMission and Funky Dineva!). From their seal of approval, I fell into this marvelous, marvelous how.
On the blog The Ideal Firestarter, this month, theme is community, and its representation. This show here?
I have cried. I laughed. I have quoted! I have run the gamut of emotions that I could only have now that I am a mother myself. And this music?! Girl! I am 38 in a month, and this music gave me all kinda memories! I remember being in my grandmother’s kitchen listening to my Aunt’s boombox to Majic 108. I mean, this show is gritty, diverse and above all–well-written.
This is why community, representation and diversity is important! With that creative roux, all and any story can be told.
There are no caricatures in POSE. These people are real, flawed and complicated.
Season 1 was set in 1987. This means in Jenn Harris history, I was 6. This was when Michael and Janet Jackson where new and amazing. When Whitney was young, and when HIV/AIDS was appearing. When in some circles it was still called GRID. These stories need to be told by those whom where there, and can no longer speak. The highs and utter lows, need to be recorded. Toni Morrison says this is the needed, dirty, unseen work of writing. We record. We reveal.We make space. We give voice.
POSE has done that. It has given me a real-time look into a world that I was too young to understand or affect. I remember Ryan White. I remember Pedro Zammora on The Real World San Francisco. I remember the protests and the fear as a kid. Hell, I remember when Ryan White died! I remember the protests on C-SPANN and CNN! I remember the AIDS quilt when it started! I had a knowledge of how wrong and mean the world could be. POSE has allowed me to look at a world that was, to be able to interact with more of the world as it is.
From watching Blanca interact with her kids, building a life and a legacy for herself? I want to do the same thing. Every good mother wants their children to excel, set standards and protect them. In Desmond and Ricky, I saw the boys I played with, grew up with and are no more. In Angel, I see so much of me when I was a bit younger. In my early 20’s. Unsure. People-pleasing. Knowing how I was, and not quite knowing how to be that.
Yes, I have a privilege being of being a Black, straight cis woman. I have no right, nor place to claim or appropriate a life that doesn’t belong to me. But, I do have this. My best friend and I call it this: ‘bringing you in the room.’ This simply means to introduce a person, a space or concept or something that needs attention brought to it.
POSE on FX is one of those things I am choosing to bring in the room. As writer, cis woman, and spacemaker, I must! The writers are brilliant! The actors are amazing! The director, producer and supporting staff and content creators are phenomenal!
The content is potent and needed! All stories are valuable, and we need to know why–someone needs to record them. There also needs to be people bold enough to put other people–whom may not look like you–in the room.
Get the keys, loves and get to unlocking these doors. And like my Daddy said:
If they won’t let you in the back door, go around to the front. If the back door is locked, buss a window and jump in!
Shameless plug: Season 2 of POSE starts June 11!
[images from Wikipedia and them.us]