Ryan Murphy on Pose: The industry used to be ‘all white guys over 40’

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Warning: this post contains some spoilers about the latest episode of Pose.

I’ve already declared my love for Ryan Murphy’s latest series, Pose. The FX series, which is set among the the ball scene and LBGTQ community in 1980s New York, is revolutionary. It employs 140 LGBTQ cast and crew members and tells authentic stories of transgender people, using real transgender actors. That, and the soundtrack is so, so good.

Ryan, who was recently honored as a “champion of diversity and civil activism” at VH1′s Trailblazer Honors, spoke to US Weekly about the positive changes his series (which has yet to be renewed for a second season) is bringing to the television landscape.

On the changing tide of the industry:
“I was interested in bringing up a new group of people. When I was coming up in the industry, it was all white guys over 40 who had power. I’m interested in using my juice to promote other people.”

On reality and representation:
“I think the days of casting a straight guy who puts on a wig and is a transgender person … those days are over. I feel like that’s not fair and that’s not real. There is so much talent in this community. We cast this show for six months and we read anybody who wanted to audition and I feel like you can feel it. It’s an authentic show about an authentic group of people and I wanted to give them a chance, and they’re so great!”

How Pose impacts his future projects:
“It was a joy and I feel like that is how business has to be now. I feel like we’re not gonna go back. We’re going to go forward and be more true and authentic.”

[From US Weekly]

The show’s cast is also well aware of the positive changes they’re making. James Van Der Beek (playing, in essence, pretty much the 1980s version of his character from Don’t Trust the B–in Apartment 23 – #neverforget) says that working on the show has taught him a lot about acceptance, calling his transgender co-stars brave. “The courage that it takes for them to be authentic to themselves is really inspiring.” The lovely Mj Rodriguez, who plays Blanca, told Mic how much she appreciates her role on Pose, stating, “Not only just for me, but for all the other beautiful trans women, I just couldn’t help but be happy.”

In addition to giving a voice to transgender people, the show also addresses the AIDS crisis. In the last episode Pray Tell, played by the brilliant Billy Porter, discovers he’s HIV positive. Billy came out in 1985 and saw many friends lose their lives to the disease. He recently told Variety, “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. 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.” He went on to praise the show and his role by professing,

“This experience has taught me to dream about the impossible. Art illuminates. Art is a catalyst for change. It always has been. That’s why the first thing that dictator-like governments want to take away — because it creates a space where people can think for themselves, think outside of the box [and] people can dream, people can become leaders. I think it’s something that’s empowering our community. … Visibility, I am convinced, is the first and probably one of the most important steps in self-actualization. When you can see something else that looks like you, you’re empowered to keep going.”

[From Variety]

Seriously, watch this show. The stories are alternately heartbreaking and inspiring and I’m so happy to see the entertainment industry working, even if it’s one show at a time, to increase LGBTQ representation and promote love and acceptance. Thanks, Ryan. You may have lost me with American Horror Story, but Pose makes up for that.

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7 Responses to “Ryan Murphy on Pose: The industry used to be ‘all white guys over 40’”

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  1. Nev says:

    great heartwarming show!!

  2. tealily says:

    Shout out to Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23!

    I haven’t been able to watch this yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I love love love Janet Mock. I had the opportunity to meet her once and she was absolutely lovely. One of those people who is just an incredible presence… I’m not sure I’ve ever met such a beautiful person in real life.

  3. BlueSky says:

    I love this show!!! I’m with you about the soundtrack. Last week they were playing Sheena Easton “Sugar walls” and Midnight Star and I was up dancing!!!

  4. Annabelle says:

    I love this show, too. Now we need a season 2 and for Ryan to cast Jamie Clayton from Sense8 to be a part of the show. RIP Sense8.

  5. Derrière says:

    Just caught up on this series, and I absolutely love it. This is a must-watch for readers here. 🙂

  6. Lotal says:

    I love Ryan Murphy