– Y’all look gorgeous. (whooping) – Like, what?
– No doubt. – Thank you.
– Who did the casting? Who’s the, what is that? – The Alexa Fogel, you
know she turned us out to– – Yes. – Shout out to her.
– Miss Alexa Fogel turned it out! (laughing) – Well, first and foremost, I
wanted to say congratulations and thank you for telling these stories that are necessary to be told. And on mass-media scale, a lot of times it’s like,
you know, hush-hush, LGBT. But this is on a public platform on FX. So thank you for being vulnerable
and sharing those stories. Round of applause, please. (applause) – Thank you. – So, I kind of wanted to
start of with representation and kind of dig in with yourselves. ‘Cause I know a lot of times, growing up, we watched Nickelodeon, we watch Disney, and we kind of see
ourselves on television. And right now, you guys are
the trailblazers for that, for black, queer, people
of color on television. So growing up, who did you
see yourself in on television? What was the first time
you saw yourself on TV? Let it marinate. (laughing) – I think this is gonna
maybe sound far-fetched but it’s my truth. The first time I saw
something and saw myself was when I saw “The
Bodyguard”, Whitney Houston. I instantly connected to her. There was something about her spirit, something about her energy
that I was smitten by and I knew that there was
something there for me that I needed to uncover. And so that kind of began
my love affair with music and theater and acting and the arts. So that was the first
time, which, you know, maybe is unexpected
coming from a man, but– – [Jayce] I mean, that’s perfect. – That was, for me, the first
time that I saw myself– – Awesome.
– On the screen. – [Jayce] And what a soundtrack. – Yes. (laughing) – I’m not gonna lie. I will say I saw myself first on, and this may sound far-fetched
as well, but “Noah’s Arc”. I used to watch that show all the time. And it spoke to me so much because not only was it like showin’ African American gay
men in a wonderful light but it also made sure that
they implemented trans women in the forefront in certain episodes. And I was really happy about that and I saw a lot of myself in those women. Or the opposite way. Either way, it was amazing. – Right, the cast. (laughs)
– It was amazing. No, the cast, everything,
the music, the theme song. I used to listen to that all the time. – Yeah, that song!
– Right? ♪ When I see you ♪ (Jayce vocalizing) Oh, I know it, see! (laughing) But yeah, that was it.
– Iconic. – So I’m gonna go on with
the far-fetched trend. Mine was actually a cartoon and mine was “The Little Mermaid”. I saw a character that did not feel that she fit into the
world that she was in and she wanted more for herself. And I related to that a lot. Ariel got me through a lot of hard times. So yeah, that was my moment of
realizing the possibilities, the magic of the world. And I still hold that with me today. – And Hailie’s playing the new
Ariel, ironically. (laughs) – Oh yes. – What about you guys over here? (laughs) Uh-oh. – That was a good one, guys.
– Shout out to Halle. (laughing) – Wow, thank you for asking that question because I never really thought about it. The first character I think
I felt like, this is loud. The first character
that I remember (laughs) seeing myself in was in “Degrassi”. Y’all remember “Degrassi”? – Mm-hmm!
– Drizzy Drake. So I was, good night, Drake was cute. I saw myself with Drake, not in Drake.
– Wheelchair Jimmy? (laughing) – But you know Mario,
y’all remember Mario? – [Audience Member] Oh, yeah. – Mario, you know, Mario was like was queer, was a person of color, and they were a cunt, bitch. Mario was a cunt, no shade.
(laughing) I really loved Mario, I
loved the story around it. I remember watching
“Degrassi” just to see Mario and just to like get into Mario’s story and everything that was
happening around him. But I didn’t, I think I’m still realizing, from the other side, how
important representation is. And people seeing themselves on TV and not only seeing themselves
and people who look like them but also the experiences
that they can relate with. Like I was in school when
I was watching “Degrassi”. So navigating how my
queerness showed up in school and just relating to what
Mario went through in school, like navigating just a bunch of a-holes, and homophobia, and– – [Jayce] Bullying, yeah. – Bullying, and so much harm. I really resonated with that. And I just, for a while, until
seeing Mario in “Degrassi”, I felt like my experiences were
the elephant in the closet. The thing that happened that
nobody wanted to talk about. And just being able to relate to that was really important to me. It made me feel less alone. – Awesome, awesome. Real quickly, actually, you can go, Angel. Who do you–
– You sure you want me to talk? – No, no, go ahead, talk. (laughing) – I could stay really quiet.
– Go ahead, uh-huh, uh-huh. – For me, the first time
I saw myself represented was in John Leguizamo’s “Freak”, actually. I remember sitting in a
classroom with a teacher trying to help me navigate
through what it was that I was gonna do after
I finished high school. And it was the first time I
got to see a man be vulnerable. And right away I knew that
that was the route for me. – Awesome, awesome. So my next question kinda
goes into the way that the entertainment industry
is set up not for us. We all know it’s
systematically not gonna be, we’re not white, cis, privileged people. And so prior to Ryan Murphy
giving you a call, like, “Hey, we’re gonna do this
great groundbreaking show,” all of you guys were in entertainment doing whatever you guys, what was the driving force
that kept you pushing towards that every single day? All the nos, all the no-thank-yous, all the, even the rude no-thank-yous. And what kept you going
to get to the point where you’re getting a call from FX
to be on the best show ever? – Well, what kept me going was knowing that there was no blue print. Knowing that everyone was saying no, knowing that there was
a bias-ness out there. Knowing that someone had to
do the work to change things. That’s what kept me personally going. And my mother, of
course, kept me inspired. I love my mommy. And just knowing that other
people were coming up after me and seeing my bothers and sisters, also trans men who I don’t
think are talked about enough, seeing everyone and knowing
that we need a voice, yeah. – Absolutely, anyone else? – I think I had a fire
in me that was burning and a desire to prove everybody wrong who said I couldn’t do things. There were, you know, coming out as queer, especially in the church, somebody over here? – Right.
– Can I get a witness? – I know (vocalizing)
– Yes. – I’m a PK, I understand. (laughing)
– Yeah, and so before “Pose”, before I moved to New York,
I worked for a church. And before I was able
to embrace my identity, before I was willing to accept, I confided in my pastor
that I was attracted to men and I lost my job. And in–
– What kinda church? – Non-denominational. – Okay. – In our exit meeting he said to me that I was gonna ruin my life. And for me that was the thing that always propelled me forward is that I cannot not do this. Because there are kids all over the world, all over the country, who are being told that
who they are isn’t right. And that they can’t achieve the things that they know that
they were put here to do because somebody else
doesn’t understand them. And I knew that I needed
to, like Hailie said, be the blue print for that. I knew I needed to break
through whatever walls. Maybe they’re invisible,
imaginary, or actual walls, I needed to break through them. And that’s what “Pose”
is allowing me to do is just break down barriers
for young, black, queer men. So I’m forever grateful
for Ryan Murphy and FX for the opportunity to do that. – Absolutely. (applause) – I would say, for me,
when I saw the breakdown, and this was before agents
had sent me anything, I saw that each and
every one of these women as well as the men were of color. Whether they be Latino, Latina, black, or any person of color. I just knew that they were
of color and I was like, one, I have to be a part
of it because of this. But also because of the
human aspects that they had. In the breakdown they
showed every single thing that certain cisgendered
individuals get casted for, we had them, too. And I was like, okay, this goes to show that
we’re being seen as humans. That’s the first thing that
anyone should see us as, is human, right? We shouldn’t be seen
as anything other than. I mean, yes, we are trans. Yes, we are African American
and Latino and Latina. But we’re much more than that. We are human. And I made sure– – First.
– First, before anything. (applause) And that’s not taking away the burdens that had been put on our backs because of the colors of our skin. That’s not taking that away at all. Instead, it enhances it, so
people can see how we live. What we did in 1987, how we worked hard to get
to where we are today. The women that were in
our spots at one point who are not here to speak for
us because they passed on. God bless their souls. But we’re speaking for them now. And that’s the best part
of this whole process, is seeing those breakdowns, seeing that we could step
inside of those shoes and I mean, I don’t know, listen. I don’t like filling shoes
’cause it’s a hard thing to do! Filling shoes is a hard thing to do. But I was glad I got to
step in those big shoes because it meant that we
were doing something bigger than what we already are,
right here, right now, so– – [Dyllon] You’re doin’ it. – Okay, I’ll take that.
– You’re all doin’ it. – All right, yeah. (speaking in foreign language) (laughing)
(applause) – Yeah. – So kind of moving on– – Hold up, I didn’t tell you about my– – Oh, you want to talk, okay. You gotta jump in, it’s like
double-dutch, girl, come on. (laughing) – The dialer didn’t move yet, so. (laughing) But (laughs) what kept me going. I didn’t really, what I actually wanted to do was be a part of improving the human race. I think I was inspired the most to do that because of the things I went through because of the human race. And I also grew up a Jehovah’s Witness and there’s always this solution-oriented kind of like atmosphere
in the Kingdom Hall and in the church. But I didn’t really feel like they, it was just like there was this idea that there was nothing that
we could do personally, ourselves, to change the world around us. And that we would have
to wait for God to do it. And so that wasn’t
necessarily my perspective. I think that the decisions
that we make as human beings so much influence other people around us. So I felt like there was
more of a responsibility in the people around me to change. So I knew that I can act. You know, I was very confident. It wasn’t necessarily (laughs) a feelin’, you know, some ways.
(laughing) But it wasn’t necessarily something that I always wanted to do. I never always wanted to be an actor. I wanted to, at first, I wanted to go to college. I wanted to study philosophy, I wanted to study psychology because I wanted to do
more one-on-one with kids who are experiencing
what I was experiencing, what I was going through, especially through foster care, whatever. And then I just was
thinking bigger and bigger, like what can I do to
influence the world around me? And to help change and help
people to become better? I didn’t know anything
about white supremacy. I didn’t know anything
about systemic racism. I didn’t know anything about colonialism. I didn’t know about any of
those histories growing up. But I did know that there
was something that was wrong. And the more that I became
aware of what was happening, the more that I felt emboldened
to do something about it. So I, because of an experience that I had, I had gotten really sick
and then I healed myself. And then, with natural medicine. And then I was inspired to become a naturopathic nutritionist. I wanted to go to school
and become a natural doctor. – Wow.
– A naturopathic doctor. And this was something that I was really, really headstrong about. Everyone in foster care that
was helping me navigate my life knew that that’s something
that I wanted to do and they tried to help
me get the resources to go to college and things like that. Going to school was really tough. I dropped out in 10th grade. There was constant bullying all around me, in school and foster care. I was going from house to house so I couldn’t really
focus on going to school. So I was just, I felt like I
was in a state of stuck-ness but I knew that I had to
make something for myself to support myself and to stay alive. But I never got the grounding
that I needed to do that. So what kept me going was just knowing that I needed to survive and that I deserved to
live, first and foremost. Because you can’t achieve your dreams or do anything that you wanna do without first being able
to live and survive, and have people around
you that support you. So I was working on my family and trying to bring my
family back into my life. I met somebody named Jose Xtravaganza. I became a part of the
House of Xtravaganza. And he sent me an audition
for “Saturday Church”, and at this time I was
having a lot of trouble– – [Jayce] And “Saturday Church” is? – “Saturday Church” is a
really incredible film. You have to see it, oh my god. MJ and I, that’s how I know MJ. MJ and I played in it.
– Nice. You guys are both in a ballroom scene? – It’s based in ballroom culture. It’s based around ballroom culture. So I did “Saturday Church” and
it was an amazing experience. It was the first experience
that I had on camera. And that changed my mother’s perspective. And then when I got the support of my mom, that’s when I, when she
saw “Saturday Church”, she went to the bathroom, she was crying, she was really emotional. And she had like this
existential crisis around how present she wasn’t being for her kid and how present she could’ve been and how things would’ve been different. – And so that experience–
– I’m trying to see what it takes.
– Happened for her and I got so much hope from having my mom, for having my mom starting
to see me and validate me. All of those things really empowered me and made me feel so grounded. And then, you know, I felt
like I can accomplish anything. – [Jayce] Amazing. – And so from then on, just knowing somebody who knew somebody, I met my manager, Lisa Kelly, who is the mother of the main character, Luka Kain, in “Saturday Church”. And she sent me Alexa Fogel’s
casting notice for “Pose” about two years later, was it, MJ? About two years later and then I went. I was like, “Oh, shoot, y’all.” (laughing) – [Jayce] And now you’re here. (laughs) – So then, you know, now I’m here. And then I realized–
– Awesome. – That I can still do what I
wanted to do around changing and influencing the world around me through being Angel on “Pose”
and through my representation as an artist.
– Yeah, that’s so crazy ’cause a lot of people, I actually read a post
recently about how, now, media’s kinda going towards
the celebrity of being LGBT. And all our people were not
going to the White House or the capital, do the work. But honestly, the media is so huge and influences so many people, that it is doing the work. I think people all kind
of take away that weight from the creative side of the industry. Angel, I’m gonna ask
you this question first. So diversity and inclusion seems
to be a very popular phrase that we’ve heard in the past,
I’d say, 10 or so years, being accountable, whatever. And I, too, work in a
facet of entertainment and what I’ve seen personally is that companies are doing a great job. However, there’s so much more to be done. And there’s been situations
that I’ve been in personally where I kind of felt more of a quota than having diversity and inclusion. So do you guys have any experiences? Or what would you like to
actually see these companies do to really maximize their
power to be truly diverse and inclusive when it
comes to seeing people like us on the television? – You sure you wanna hear me talk? – I absolutely do, let us know. – I think, for starters, we have to start giving
opportunities to the right people. We can’t just write stories
about the people that they see are now finally making money for them. And so it becomes an instant,
“Oh, this is popular. “Okay, we need to put it out there.” But it’s not enough to put it out there. You have to make sure that the people that are putting it out there are the people from those experiences. – Or in it.
– From the background, who are in it. Who have those day-to-day experiences. Otherwise, really, who are you helping? Because the stories that
are gonna end up out there aren’t gonna be authentic. They’re not gonna be true because it’s not coming from
the people that are living it on a day-to-day basis. – Damn. – Drop the mic.
– Can I chime in? – Go ahead. – So I think the world is
really interested in trans and queer people’s lives. And I know the industry wants
to bank off that, right? So they want a little
piece, everybody vogue-ing. You know, when Madonna happened, when Madonna brought vogue into mainstream and brought so much of our culture, people were really inspired
and there was like this buzz. People were really interested
in what our lives were like, et cetera, and I feel like
that’s happening now, again. But whenever people are
trying to tell our stories, first and foremost, I always– – [Jayce] For you. – I always wonder, like, why? Do you know why you wanna tell my story? Why do you wanna tell my story? Especially if you’re not
including us in it, you know? Why would you wanna tell stories about a marginalized demographic that you don’t even care about, you know? So I’ll be thinking about those things when we’re talking about cis
people playing trans people and arguing, these actors
are arguing their entitlement to playing anything they want. But it’s like I don’t want you playing, you clearly don’t care about how we feel around you occupying our experiences. Why would you wanna play a
role you don’t care about? (applause)
Especially occupying an experience and a life
that is already marginalized. Like, what? Do you even know why you
wanna take on the role? Oh, you just wanna expand and stretch and show people that you can act ’cause you wanna play a tree?
– Right, or care. – You wanna, what she said? (laughing) Wanna play a tree? (laughs) Girl. (laughing) – Lord have mercy, this side of the couch? – If I could talk–
– (laughs) No, I see you. – I agree 100%. I think it even needs to
start deeper within actors. I think it needs to start
within the writing rooms– – Absolutely.
– And in directors. We need to have people
that are like us writing and directing the things
that we’re a part of. Especially, just like how
we can do with our culture, we can do it with the trans
culture and our movement. And I think that’s how
you make things happen. If you don’t do that, then the stories will not be
as true as they need to be. We need to be in the forefront and in the background, as well. It can’t just work one way. – That’s right. To piggyback off of the rest of my cast, I equate the subject matter to blackface. There was a time when black
artists were not allowed to play or portray themselves. And the white community was
portraying them for them in a very derogatory way. So I equate this to the same thing, and everything else my cast said. (laughing) – And then one final thing. And I’m not just saying this
because we work for him, but one of the things that’s
brilliant about Ryan Murphy is that he has truly empowered, he’s empowered us, he’s
empowered so many other trans and queer folx to tell their own stories. From giving Steven Canals
and Janet Mock and Our Lady J the ability to expand what they were already adding to the world, and all of us, as well. So I think that that
is really the key that, about what Indya, Angel,
and all of them are saying, it’s like it’s great
that you see value in us because there’s a lot
of value in us, right? – Absolutely.
– But the key is to not just wanna profit off of us, but to want to empower us to
be able to stand on our own and to be able to stand in
these rooms with the executives to make money-making decisions. That’s where the key is. To empowering us to be
able to run the shit. (applause)
– Yes. – Absolutely.
– Come on, affirmative action. – That’s actually one
of my favorite things about “Pose”, the show. Is because I have a lot of
friends who are in New York, like Twiggy and of all them, I’m happy that they are,
like you said Janet, they are in the room as
they’re creating the content. There’s not a bunch of white folks, sorry guys, writing the show. They have people in the rooms
who are lived experiences. And so I really appreciate
that about Ryan Murphy and FX and the show. I kinda want to divert
the conversation to HIV. That’s been a heavy topic
this season of “Pose” and I do a lot of work in the HIV field and so I’ve been in certain spaces. And one thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of the people
who have done the work, in the 80s and the 90s, don’t necessarily want to pass the torch onto us who are doing the work now. Because a lot of people, I
mean, if you think about it, LGBT history just entered
the school system recently. And only in some states and cities, right. And so I was very unfamiliar. If I didn’t seek out the information, I was not gonna receive it. So I wanted to kind of ask
you, as the younger generation, do you feel kind of an importance with teaching our folx about HIV and the history behind what
it took to get us PrEP, TAPS, all these initiatives
to help our generation now. – Go ahead. (laughing) – I think that it’s imperative
that it’s on this show because there is a stigma
that is constantly held around having HIV and AIDS. And the history is important. Not only were there people
just dying with in weeks, but there were peaks. And I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel like have to have this be known because it’s truth, it’s statistics. In 1987 through 1988 and so on, there were 20,000 individuals
who had passed on. And then when 1990, 1991, 1992 hit, it was a peak of 20,000 more
individuals who had passed which made it 40,000 people. And a lot of people don’t know that. And also, there is still a stigma held around that, and that’s why. There’s still a stigma held around that and that is why a lot of people
don’t wanna tell that story. But it’s important. – Absolutely.
– It’s important. It needs to be heard. Because that goes to show
how much work is put in, but how much more work needs to be done around finding a cure. – Absolutely. (applause) – So, yeah. – So this season, actually, this past week’s episode
and the week before, for those of y’all who
haven’t seen “Pose”, you’re about to get a spoiler. Ricky finds out he’s HIV positive. And if you ain’t watched
the show, that’s your bad. – [Jayce] And he got a– (laughs) He got a new man.
– But Ricky finds out he’s HIV positive this season. And that, when I first
read it in the script, I mourned for the character because I just didn’t wanna
see him go through that. But I’m so grateful to be
able to tell that story. Do you know that over half of the new cases of HIV have
occurred in the South in 2017? And that almost half of those
folks are African American? And of the folks who have contracted it, a large majority of them
are African American and identify as gay and bisexual. So being from the South, what that says to me is people
are not talking about it. Because if they were talking about it, they would know their status and they would not be spreading. There’s just, and knowing what it’s like growing up in the South, knowing what it’s like
to grow up in the South and be queer and to be black, there’s a huge stigma around the intersection of those identities. And then on top of that, adding HIV, you don’t even understand how conversations about HIV
prevention don’t even happen. I didn’t learn about
the consequences of HIV and what preventions looked like and what treatment looked like until I moved to New York
City eight years ago. Which is mind-blowing for me, that I was 23-years-old before I, and had to end up with a scare to realize that I needed to know more about this. And so the beautiful thing about “Pose” is that we get to come into
people’s homes week after week and they get to get
attached to these characters and they get to see the
humanity in these people. And that’s the key to ending stigma, is being able to see
somebody that you know and that’s what television does. We grow close to these characters and we feel like we know
them and we mourn for them, the way that I mourned
for Ricky when I read it. And so if we can take that
and harness that power to encourage more
conversations amongst families, and amongst schools, and amongst churches about dealing with this
problem in the South and in black communities
and queer communities, I think that that’s
really where the key is. – Right, and holistically, too. Because there’s no sexual health for queer and trans people in schools. That doesn’t exist.
– Yeah, in education systems. Yeah.
– So, and I think that’s a large part of it. And I think a lot of people think that the cure to AIDS and HIV, a lot of cis/hetero people
think that the cure to AIDS and HIV is the eradication
of trans and queer people. And that’s just not true, right? So the lack of information and the stigma that already exists contributes more to
transphobia and queerphobia. And there needs to be a lot
more education around it for queer and trans people as well, for sex health.
– Absolutely. Yeah, and of course, obviously
with being black Latino, we have a whole other heap
of issues with the family, the church, internalized homophobia. We have a whole ‘nother
pack of issues that, before we even get to the treatment, that we have to unpack and deal with. So it’s a whole ‘nother story. So I commend you guys for doing that. I kinda want to switch the gears and talk about colorism because– – Let’s talk about it. – Let’s talk about it, let’s have that conversation.
– Talk about it. (laughs) – So for the room, colorism. I am Afro-Latino. My mom’s from Panama. I am a fair shade of black. I have more privilege in the world, who may be of a darker complexion. So one of the, people
say everything about it, everyone has something
to say all the time. But one of the critiques
with “Pose” was the colorism and actually, you, Hailie, you said a line at Angelica’s funeral, or Miss Candy, with the hammer– – Light-skinned and thick. – Yeah, “Oh, I thought you
wanted to be friends with me “because I’m light-skinned and thick.” And that was a very
intentional line that I caught. And so I kinda wanna talk about how colorism has played into the writing and also the casting of the show. – I think colorism is one of the most subconscious biases that exist because black people also
contribute to it, too. And people of color also
contribute to it, too, especially when you’re light-skinned. You don’t really see how you’re
contributing to colorism, in a lot of ways that white
people don’t see themselves contributing to white
supremacy or anti-blackness, in a lot of ways, right? So I think, people have brought up
concerns around colorism. And, you know, people have noticed how Dominique and Candy seem to be the– – Villainous.
– The villains of the show. – [Jayce] I like Elektra,
she’s my favorite character. (laughing) – I also love Elektra. – She will raze you down.
– And I also love Candy and, you know what I mean? I think they also go through
the most of all the characters because they’re dark-skinned,
black, trans women. And their experiences aren’t the same. But I think a lot of the way
it was written was intentional to demonstrate not that
they are villainous, but that they go through a lot. Their experiences have been tough. And that they’ve had to protect
everything that they do have and are constantly fighting for space even in their own community. Like we saw Candy constantly having to do. That shit is real. In the ballroom community, there was a point where
dark-skinned black and brown people weren’t feeling visible and favored, and you know what I mean? Like essential to the community. Because all the light-skinned girls, the Latina girls were kind of coming in. And there’s so much centricism
around light-skinned-ness and proximity to it. You know, “white woman cunt”, that is a phrase in the ballroom scene that is commending
somebody who is beautiful. – [Jayce] What was the phrase? – Like, “Oh, she’s giving
me white woman cunt,” like, you know, yes.
– Gotcha. (laughs) – So that’s actually like a
praise, you know what I mean? So it’s just there’s so much. I think there’s so many
ways that I think we, as people of color, adopt
anti-blackness unintentionally. But because of the way the world around us shows us to ourselves
through its own perspective of what blackness looks like, what blackness deserves,
and what blackness does not. So I think, yes. I’m not in the writer’s room, but I do know that a lot of the way the character’s written were intentional. And I think that we’re gonna get to see these characters evolve a lot more. But, yeah, it was something that I was also concerned about, too, because I’m like, damn, why is
it that Angel’s the darling? You know what I mean? She seems like the darling. And everybody else seems like the darling. But then we have Lulu who
is a bitch, also, and she– – Misunderstood, I’d rather say. – And Hailie’s the lightest–
(laughing) Hailie’s the most lightest-skinned girl, you know what I mean, on “Pose” of us trans women and femmes of color. So it’s like there is,
you know what I mean, there’s a nuance in it all. But I also think it’s
really incredible to see the ways that Elektra is
growing into her character. And I think that there still
is a lot of work to be done and everyone is aware of that. – I wanna, I’m sorry, were you going? – I was, just to piggyback off of that, and I’ll be quick. Is I don’t know if there’s
a colorism issue with “Pose” but if, just piggybacking
off of what Indya is saying, there is a colorism issue in the world. – The world, right. – And what “Pose” is,
is taking a microscope into issues that are
occurring in the world. So that’s the piece that I was gonna say about it.
– Yeah, absolutely. – I was just gonna say that
this subject matter for me, personally, is very touching. I am a multi-racial young woman. Many people don’t know that I am black, but both my parents are black, not mixed. And so growing up for me,
I’m also a preacher’s kid and I grew up in a Baptist church, so– – Me too. – Did you? – What’s up?
– Well you understand me a lot more, then.
– Uh-huh, we see each other. (laughing) – So my world was very challenging
as far as colorism goes because though I do understand
there are privileges to being a lighter-complected, I also want to address there
were times where I was bullied or treated very, very
bad by darker-skinned– – For not black enough? – Not black, I’m always
not something enough because no one knows what I am. – Yeah, that part. (laughs) – So I never really felt
like I fit in anywhere. Though I was treated bad by
sometimes darker-skinned people, I understood as I got older why. And I understood that there
was a privilege that I had. Even though I wasn’t
carrying myself that way, that was the perception. And I think that that subject matter dates way, way far back. Way far back.
– Deep. – I mean, we were brought
over to this land. So it dates way far back
and I understand it. So I will say that I’m not
in the writer’s room, either. But I will say that I’m glad
that we’re talking about it now and I think that’s the
intention of the show. (applause) – Absolutely. – I’ll say something, too. I agree with every single last person. If I could drop maybe
a piece of knowledge, colorism has been something,
like we have all said, that has been in this
world for years and beyond. In Africa, they chop off albino limbs because they think it’s magical. And that’s something
that has been embedded, I’m sorry to the white people in the room, but it has embedded by white people due to colonialism and colorism. So that is something
that we have to tackle with every single day, simply because that has been embedded. And I think, like everyone has said, it’s a magnifying glass on
how that is a trickle effect. A trickle effect, and
sometimes it’s hereditary and where people just have that. And there are some times where people have to learn themselves out of that and get out of that. And I think that’s a wonderful
thing that “Pose” is doing, is learning themselves out of it. Simply due to the trans experience, but also as people of color in a realm where they’re
separated from other people, the juxtaposition between people who are working in Wall Street and us being down in the underground. So, yeah, I mean, agree upon everything that everyone has said, but that’s something that has happened and it needs to be seen. It has to be seen. – Unlearning. (applause) – Unlearning.
– I don’t know about the– – Unlearning, for sure. – I didn’t hear about, I gotta get into that
albino story in Africa– – Yes, girl, on the Discovery.
– Google. – ‘Cause I didn’t know–
– Listen, baby. – I gotta get into Google. I didn’t really know that was happening. (laughing)
I didn’t know they was choppin’ people up–
– It’s important to note. – Elsewheres, it was like (vocalizing). – So, Indya–
– But we have gotta talk about that, right? (laughing) – It’s true. – I know I’m gonna Google
that when I get home, too. So, Indya, you identify
as non-binary trans? How–
(whooping) (whoops) Ow! (laughs) I wanted to ask you,
specifically, what has, ’cause the conversations around pronouns and all these different things has been fairly new for mass media, but not new for everybody else. So what has been your
experience being a tall, modelesque, non-binary person? – Well, I really
appreciate that we now have an evolving language
around gender variance and trans-ness, now. Because I think the entire
Latin culture evolved, like, Latin, English, French, you know, the colonial culture grew and evolved. I mean like European culture
that is now our culture, Western culture, has developed so much without language of gender-variant people, while a lot of the ancestry
that we have as people of color, there was a language that
acknowledged our existences, where for so long there was not. So now I think our culture, holistically, throughout the world, is evolving to include language that acknowledges the existences of trans and gender-variant people. And I think that’s
really, really important because colonialism took
so much of that away. And I know we stray away from colonialism to make a certain people
feel more comfortable. But these are inconvenient truths that have to be talked about because so much of it, it’s an important historical factor that contributes to where we are today. And it’s important for
everyone to learn about, regardless of how inconvenient
that truth may be for you. So, you know (laughs), y’all shady. (laughing) So like me identifying as
non-binary was like a choice because I found, and I noticed, that binaries cause violence. And binaries also create the expectation for people to perform a certain
way within their gender. And nobody fully performs
within those expectations fully. (applause) And I think, also, it
reminds me of, oh my god, there’s so much gender war. Binaries have created so much gender war and binaries created patriarchy. And I think about the first
things that young boys are told when they’re expressing
themselves naturally, when they’re expressing their emotions, when they’re crying. When they’re just expressing themselves, they’re compared to girls
as an insult, right? Like, “Oh, why you acting like a girl?” (hand smacks) (speaking in foreign language), right? So it’s like binaries cause violence. And me identifying as non-binary is a way for me to forfeit the binaries that I feel limit the way that
I’m able to express myself. Even as a woman, like I
didn’t shave my legs today. And I still think about, you know, I didn’t shave my underarms,
they hairy as hell. And you know how many people
tell me that it’s disgusting? Like on Instagram when I post
a picture like my body’s, but they don’t tell this to men. Men aren’t told that they are disgusting and that their body is nasty because they chose not to shave. And so the expectations
that we’re forced to live, it’s just too much. And you know what? I’m just opting out. I’m they/them, and I’m gonna
put you through the labor to get it together, and that’s it. My underarms are bushy as fuck. (laughing) (cheering)
(applause) And my legs are hairy today. And you know what? Those are the subtle ways in which I trespass the convention of gender. I am very femme, you know? I express myself in very femme ways. But I do feel more comfortable having a relationship with my masculinity because I’m non-binary. And also, it don’t even matter. You don’t have to be
non-binary to have healthy relationships with
femininity and masculinity– – Right, amen.
(applause) – Also; but that’s just
my political choice and my identity, and– – Amen, so before we open
up the floor for questions, in one word, what do
you want the audience, the viewers, people watching “Pose” on FX, what do you want them to receive, watching you guys tell these stories? – I have a word, but I wanna
say something after it. – Okay, go ahead. – I say this on every– – You got three words. – Interview that I do, so someone in this room
has heard this before. The one word that I want you
to take away from this is love. Now I wanna give you an example. If you ever do not understand
what it meant to be a human, when we say humanizing,
and just to be a human. Everyone in this room was a child at one point in their lives; everybody. When you were a child, you saw friends that
you wanted to play with. You did not see color,
you did not see gender, you did not see any of those barriers. That is a learned behavior. So we naturally are loving beings. We naturally want to embrace each other. We learned this stuff. We’re not gonna be here forever. Everyone has a time where we’re here and then we transition
on to wherever we go. While you’re here, enjoy
each other’s company. Enjoy each other and love each other. (cheering)
(applause) And if you never understood, if you never understood,
and I’m almost done. – It’s okay.
– If you never understood what it meant to be a human,
remember yourself as a child. – Amen.
– Amen. (cheering)
(applause) – I know this is a weird word
to choose, but unconditional. Just look up the
definition of unconditional and see what that means, and then you can tie it in with
exactly what she just said. – Without conditions, boom. (laughing) – Exactly.
– Right. There’s no conditions. What about you guys? – Power, power. There’s power in owning who you are. There’s power in your authenticity. There’s power in your truth,
your uncompromised truth. – Come on, Angel.
– You sure you want me to talk?
– Yes, I do. (laughs) – Deprogramming, I think
it’s about time we start unlearning the scripts that
have been handed down to us. – There are different
demographics that watch “Pose”. I think, to the people who
aren’t queer, who aren’t trans, I want them to walk away with knowing that we deserve to have mothers
like Blanca in our lives. We deserve to have families like the House of
Evangelista in our lives. And we deserve the ones that
we came into the world with, also, and we deserve
to expand our families with our chosen families, as well. We deserve love. We deserve to be loved in safety. Trans people, trans women
deserve to be loved in safety, whether it’s in the safety
of our romantic partnerships, or it’s in the safety of our families, or in the safety of the
communities that we grew up in. Black trans women and femmes
deserve love and protection and safety by the people around us. I want queer and trans people
who are black and brown to take away that, just to affirm that we’re incredible, we’re beautiful, we’re amazing. (applause) We’re magical and it’s
incredible the way that we create for ourselves everything
that’s taken away from us. We create for ourselves everything
that’s taken away from us and everybody still want it. And so, you know, even what
we create for ourselves, people still don’t want us to have that. So I think “Pose” is
an incredible platform and television show that creates that crosstalk between people. And I just want to end with, lastly, that to trans and queer
people who are not of color, who relate to everything on the show, keep relating to your black
and brown, queer and trans kin. – Amen.
(applause) – Because we need your power. We need that validation and that love and that affirmative action, honey. So center queer, and trans,
black and brown people anywhere that you can. And the whole world is about you so make it an action in your day to make it about black and trans, black and brown, trans and queer people. – Amen, that’s right.
(applause) – As a daily practice and mantra. – So quickly, I’m gonna bring
up Alexis Fish from Billboard. Come on up, now.
(applause) Everybody say, “Hi, girl!” (laughing) – [Alexis] Hey, I didn’t wanna
cut off the Q&A, though, so– – Do you wanna do the Q&A first? – Should we have a couple? Let’s, like three questions, please. – Yeah. – Yes? – Hey everyone, my name’s Mishay. I use they/them, she/her pronouns. And what I’m taking away
from this conversation and what I’ve known is the
biggest issue in this world are men, whiteness, and capitalism, right? (laughing) And so it can seem really overwhelming to try to tackle all of
those things at once. And so I’m constantly thinking about what is making the most change. Whether that be media
representation like y’all are doing, whether that be policy change. And I’m curious as to what
y’all think is the best way, or a multiplicity of ways, to getting us toward that liberation? – I don’t know that there is a best way. I think that it’s comprehensive. I think that you have to
use whatever influence and whatever power you have in your sphere to create the change you wanna see. Whether that be with policy, whether that be in the
media and in the arts, whether that be in your own homes. Or whether that be looking in the mirror and dismantling the toxic masculinity that you have to deal
with, the patriarchy, the white supremacy, whatever
your thing is in your sphere that you have control over,
that you can influence. That’s where you start
and it’s a ripple effect. I think it’s comprehensive. – I think, just really quickly, centering organizations that are doing the work on the ground. Because I think the orgs
that are doing the work, like National Bail Out, and there are a few others that I don’t, that flew across the top of my head, I’m embarrassed about it. But there are a lot of
orgs that are not GLAAD and GLSEN and HRC. Love them for the work that they do, but there’s just not
enough on-the-ground work that I see right now. And there are orgs that
are doing that work, that are working 24/7 and doing that work. So I think centering those
orgs are really important. I’m working on a list of those orgs– – [Jayce] Post it on your ‘gram. – To post on my ‘gram, on Twitter. – The translation for those, yeah. – [Woman] Say the name? – The Trans Latina Coalition is one of them.
– Oh, we have some representatives right
here in the front row. (applause)
– Yes. – Thank you.
– And Transgender Legal Defense, also, but that’s it. – Did you wanna add
something, Hailie, real quick? – Very briefly, I agree with
both of my cast members. To answer your question, like Dyllon said, I don’t think it’s one way. Indya and I talked about this before. There’s a big block of hatred, right? And on this angle of the block, someone’s chippin’ away
with activism work. On this end, someone’s not
gonna relate to that activism because maybe they’re not into that. So someone’s chipping away
with just being a good person. So social media, I think
it’s different ways that’s gonna tackle this monster. It’s not just one. – Amen. (applause) – Do we have time–
– Come on, with the block analogy.
– For one more question? One more question. – [Audience Member] Test,
test, test, test, hi. – Here we go. – Hi, you guys are such
great actors just in general. Watching the show I’m really
blown away by your performances but I would like to know if
you could do an ideal character and didn’t have to be
necessarily queer or trans, what kind of characters would you guys do? Like serial killer, or
you know, I’m just– – Oh.
(laughing) – Baby, give me a romantic comedy, ’cause I’m silly as all hell. Or give me like a strong, Marvel, like give me a Marvel, strong character. But she doesn’t have to be trans. She can be, it does not matter. I think people need to
see us in certain aspects but not just with the
trans-ness added onto it. Just to see the work
that we can contribute– – [Audience Member] Yeah,
that’s what I’m saying. – So, yeah.
– That’s just, yeah. If I could just know
from everybody, like– – I wanna be a Bond girl. – Oh! (laughs)
(cheering) – I see that for you, Hailie! I see that, baby, oh! – Yes, I see it. – And that’s all I’m gonna say on that. – I love it. – I grew up loving action-adventure movies so I’ve always wanted to
be like an India Jones kind of a thing, or something like that. – I don’t sing and I have two
left feet outside of Bachata but if you throw some Prince my way, ooh! I’d love to tear that up. – Not a Prince biopic. (laughing) I could see it, I could see it. – All right, good lookin’, good lookin’. (laughing) – So not the Dominican
Prince biopic (laughs). (laughing) – Come on, Dykeman. (laughing) – I’m generally more so
attracted to characters that are misunderstood and
under-looked and seen for, just seen by the outside world for what’s happening on the surface. But I’m really interested
in playing those characters that have so much more to
show for and contribute. I don’t know, that could be anything. It could be a doctor, it could
be, it could be a politician, I mean, fuck politicians right now but it could be like, I mean, I would be that radical
politician, to play– – An ACO. – I don’t know, I’m really
down to play anything. I’m really, really into
sci-fi and action and fantasy. Like I’m a little here for horror, too. But I mean I would love
to occupy a character in any of those worlds. I love sci-fi ’cause it imagines just the things that we haven’t done yet or that we’re working toward. – Awesome.
– And, yeah, I like it. I’d like to occupy that. (applause) – Well–
– Can we check, – Thank you.
– Can we get a question from him?
– Oh. – ‘Cause he’s been raisin’ his hand. – Make it fast, make it fast.
– Curtis, or, okay, quickly. And only one response.
– So I grew up very, like I got a lot of, I was discriminated
against in my own community for being as dark as I am, as you can see I’m quite (laughs). And I used to go out of
my to bleach my skin, like going to Walgreens
and getting bleach cream and stuff like that. And I used to feel very bad. I used to put waves in my head because I knew that in my community, light-skinned people were more
praised and stuff like that. Like they were called red bones and yellow bones and stuff like that. – Red?
– You know? And now it’s like I see people like Lupita and I wanna be darker. Like I wish I was even darker than I am. – Yes.
– Yeah. – And ’cause if I do smile,
you see my teeth, honey. You can tell that I brush,
honey, like you see my smile. And I feel like, do you
think that in the industry, people my skin color are
being given opportunities? Or should we make those
opportunities for ourselves because I feel like there’s
not enough people my skin color so I’ve just started to make YouTube, I made a YouTube channel, I have like six Instagrams
and two Twitters. Because I just decided to,
like if no one’s gonna cast me, I’ll just make the opportunities myself. So do you feel like either they need to make more roles for us, or should we just create
them for ourselves? – I think more roles
definitely need to be made. But I will say that we are
living in a time where, definitely, create your
own content, for sure. Be the leader, be the
writer, be the producer. My grandfather was your shade. I have a little brother
who is your shade, as well. And I speak to him a lot about this because he is the darkest
out of all of my siblings and I want you to know,
which I’m sure you do, ’cause you’re very handsome, I want you to know that you are gorgeous. And that color is rich
(applause) and stunning and amazing
and divinely yours. But, yes, create the content. Be the boss and be in charge. – Yeah, seriously amazing–
– Wow, thank you, Hailie, so much.
– And so beautiful. (applause) – Thank you, so we’re
gonna bring out Alexis and first of all– – I wanna add– – Oh, here we go. (laughing) – That I agree with Hailiee. And I wanna say that I
think it’s really important to hold productions accountable
for the way that they cast because producing shit is really hard. Especially when you don’t
already have your name out there. I mean, it took Steven Canals
12 years to get this close, you know what I mean? Until he finally met Ryan Murphy. So it’s a lot of hard work. And, I mean, Steven Canals
is a light skin girl, you know what I mean? And it took him 12 years. And in context of colorism,
the darkest you are, anywhere in the world,
you suffer the most. And in the industry, you know what I mean, you get the least, you
have the least access. And so affirmative action
is really important especially for, you know what I mean, a lot of people of color who
are black who get it first, usually end up being
light-skinned black people or lighter-skinned black people. And, you know what I mean,
like I didn’t barely have any, I didn’t have any experience
except “Saturday Church”. And then I just went from, literally, I’m two years removed from the character story of Angel, right? And it happened so fast for me. So I think, yes, creating is so important but let’s be honest. It’s really hard, it’s really hard. We should create, too, and I think that we need to
put a foot up Hollywood’s ass to actually make an intentional effort to cast dark-skinned black people when we’re looking for black
people to cast in roles. The first thing that we
don’t think about to cast is a light-skinned– – So beautiful.
– Person. – So beautiful.
– But, yeah, you know. – Awesome, well, thank you so much–
– And promise me one thing, you’ll never give up. Just promise me you won’t do that. That’s the one thing I don’t
want you do to is give up. – You see that confidence.
– Exactly. – (laughs) Awesome, well, please– – Can I just say one–
– A round of applause for all of our panel.
– No, I’m just joking. I’m just joking, I’m just joking.
– What do you wanna say? – I’m just joking.
(laughing) – Are you sure? – You sure you wanna hear me talk? – Yeah, yeah.
(laughing) Thank you guys so much. A round of applause for MJ,
Hailie, Dyllon, Angel, and–