Review by Indira Falle 

For all of us who are constantly frustrated by the lack of diversity seen on our screens, I present to you… Pose

This series hosts one of the largest transgender casts ever to grace our screens, including MJ Rodriguez and Indya Moore. The show also boasts the involvement of the incredibly talented Janet Mock; the first transgender woman of colour to ever write and direct any episode for television. This uplifting and beautiful show reveals the secret world of Ballroom in 1987 New York, which has been widely forgotten and erased by pop culture and our history books. 

If the word ‘ballroom’ fills you with dread of the waltz or the rhumba, think again - this ballroom is an entirely different scene. The ballroom was a place where young African-American and Latin American members of the LGBTQ+ community could come together, dress in flamboyant and colourful costumes to ‘walk’ and ‘vogue’ in various categories to compete for trophies.  

We follow the lives of people within the queer community, heavily focusing on the life of trans women and gay men as they struggle with acceptance in the wider community and the devastating consequences of the AIDS pandemic. We are shown not only the physical effects of the disease but also the visible disregard demonstrated by the rest of the world, as expressed by Billy Porter’s character in the show;

“I know that Ronald Reagan will not say the word ‘AIDS’. Health insurance will not cover any treatments. The world wants us dead. They don’t think this is a plague. They think it’s some sort of divine justice or Darwin’s answer for sodomy.”

Despite the never-ending struggles of this community, there is a constant and unconditional love that sustains this vibrant and beautiful culture. The queer community was so shunned and vilified  by the rest of society that healthcare was often inaccessible, job prospects were low and parents would disown their children (all of which continues to this day) - in lieu of the support of a birth family, houses were formed. Houses consisted of a mother or father and their children and were recognised as a chosen family who all lived under one roof and competed together at the balls.

Pose is a must watch for anyone wanting to expand their knowledge of this community, delve into the themes of love and expression and simultaneously acquire some serious outfit envy.

Pose can be found on BBC iPlayer and Netflix and is rated 15. 

Here are some recommendations for those who enjoyed this series:

  • Series - I May Destroy You

Written and created by Michaela Cole, this series hosts another diverse cast of exceptional talent whilst exploring the serious concept of consent and sexual assault. This series can be found on BBC iPlayer.

  • Series - Legendary

If you enjoyed Pose, then Legendary is a must watch! The show dives deeper into the ball room scene and stars the incredible Dashaun Wesley. We are currently awaiting the arrival of Legendary to the UK screens which will be towards the end of 2020.