Provocative, redemptive return of Netflix’s Pose

A sex scene between two black, gay, HIV-positive characters powerfully brought humanity and sensuality to a virus still marred by stigma.
A sex scene between two black, gay, HIV-positive characters powerfully brought humanity and sensuality to a virus still marred by stigma.
Supplied

Streaming Review:

Pose

Available on Netflix SA

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Pose pays homage to the late 80s vogueing culture and the underground ballroom, while teasing out pertinent issues of intersectionality within the LGBTIQ+ community between fishnet tights and soothing sounds of the likes of Stephanie Mills.

In the first season, we’re introduced to Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), a house mother who relentlessly believes in dreams coming true despite the societal chains that imprison the young trans and queer members of her house.

Elektra (Dominique Jackson) takes a harsh, narcissistic approach to being a house mother.

We also meet Pray Tell (Billy Porter), a founding member of the ballroom scene.

Season two sheds light on the HIV/Aids epidemic while giving us an intimate look into the trans/queer community.

In episode eight, we see a steamy sex scene between Pray Tell and Ricky (Dyllón Burnside). Seeing two black, gay, HIV-positive men in this light was a powerful statement that brought humanity and sensuality to a virus still marred by stigma.

The season explores the politics of using antiretrovirals to treat HIV/Aids, as well as Christianity’s harmful myths about the virus.

Other issues, including misogyny, colourism and transphobia within and outside the ballroom community, also play out.

Angel Evangelista (Indya Moore) sees a modelling career taking off until brands discover that she’s a trans woman.

The death of Candy (Angelica Ross) shows what trans women still face today – discrimination and murder that often go unnoticed and undocumented.

This season also explores some bondage, domination , sadomasochism and fetish with Elektra’s new job as a “mistress” at the Hellfire Club.

The show takes a jab at society for appropriating queer culture, yet it ends on a triumphant note with a girls’ trip to the beach and the last ball of the season commemorating Candy’s life.

Pose gets a nod for inclusive representation, and for the critical and sometimes overlooked fact that we don’t often see trans and queer actors on our screens.

It’s a reminder that we all deserve happiness, love and success, affirming that we are more than just our trauma.

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