The Office of Intercultural Engagement (OIE) hosted a Reel Talk dialogue on FX’s Pose. Reel Talk is a series where students can educate themselves and others on interracial and intercultural topics through television and movie prompts. The event had a small turn out last Monday at 7 PM, but the hope is that talking about popular shows in today’s TV realm will generate conversation through today’s generations specifically college students.
OIE assistant directors Carla Fullwood and Elliot Kimball hosted the discussion in the EUC Auditorium, beginning with the most important question, “Who has watched Pose before?” Student participants who attended the event had not seen it yet, but the promotion of the event by Student Affairs’ Student Weekly had to spark some interest for students to attend and see why they should invest their time into the show.
FX’s American drama series Pose, is a dance musical based in the 1980’s that explores life in New York City “through the ball culture world, the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe and the downtown social and literary scene.”
Here is some backstory on the series that led to a good discussion. Blanca Rodriquez-Evangelista is an HIV positive trans woman who is a former member of House of Abundance, who went on to create her own called House of Evangelista. The house includes a selected family that provides support to LGBT youth who were rejected by their birth parents. The family competes in balls consisting of various categories, where they are judged by their outfits, attitude or dance skills against Blanca’s former house mother, Elektra.
Similar background information about the show was shared by Kimball throughout the event. He mentioned that the writing room should be representative of the people that the show is presenting to viewers as opposed to past and present shows and movies that lack diversity among their writers.
The talk consisted of short clips with a follow-up discussion. The first featured clip Buzz’s “Pose on FX Talk About Acceptance and Inclusion,” had a reporter who asked MJ Rodriquez about her take on how the show is portrayed to fans. She shared that kids who are people of color or identify as members of LGBT parents have shared that their children told them they enjoy and relate with the show in ways.
Kimball also addressed the ballroom culture which could have been straightforward to some who find interest in the culture, while others need clarity to relate it with the show. Ball culture is an LGBT subculture in the United States for dance, participation in drag or emulating social classes.
People walk for trophies, money and other prizes. Voguing, a practice which many have been made aware of due to it being incorporated into other shows and choreography, is an important part of the ballroom community.
Another clip that stood out was the Pilot episode. The robbery and ball scene included the children of the House of Abundance in a museum hiding until closing to steal clothing from the exhibit. In time for the ball event, they walk across the wooden floor as if it were a runway modeling in dresses, coats and crowns.
Pray Tell played by Billy Porter who is the emcee exclaimed, “Prince and princess realness,” giving a flair to the scene and keeping students intrigued up to the arrest of the unphased house members with the stolen fashion. The characters portray a sense of desperation to have something great to wear at the ball. They did anything to be in the world they created for themselves, and to continue to enjoy it.
With a glimpse into the series, student declared an interest to watch the show during their free time.
Kimball and Fullwood mentioned UNCG’s Pride Month Calendar, highlighting the Queer Clothing Drive in EUC 062, where students can, “bring clothing items to be used in the Queer Clothing Drive, for students at UNCG to find gender-affirming clothes.” These items will be used for the Second Chance Prom which will occur on April 16 at 7 PM in the Alumni House’s Virginia Dare Room on College Avenue.
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