FX Series ‘Pose’ Brings to Life HIV History Through Black and Latinx Characters

It didn’t take long for Pose, the Sunday night FX series created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals, to achieve critical acclaim and become a cultural hit among black and Latinx LGBT communities (although overall ratings have been modest). Set in 1987 New York City, the show is rich with music, shoulder pads, and ’80s nostalgia. But to truly understand the show’s significance, you need only see a pivotal scene from the pilot episode. In it, Blanca Rodriguez (played by Mj Rodriguez) sits and asks for her medical results. She is stoic and reserved as the doctor says, “Blanca the test confirms that you have HIV.” After a long silence, Blanca thanks the woman and tries to dash for the exit. The doctor manages to slow her down. She offers pamphlets, talks about AZT (Retrovir, zidovudine) treatment, and offers what she probably thinks are consoling words.

 

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