'Pose' co-creators and cast discuss the hit series' final season

“Pose”, FX’s hit drama-series highlighting ballroom culture, is coming to an end with its third and final season airing this spring.

Season three, which premieres with its first two episodes on May 2, will be short with a total of only seven episodes. The series finale will air June 6.

Co-creator and executive producer Steven Canals said during a virtual conference with the cast on Monday that the series and its finale will reflect, “what it was always intended to be,” following the stories that he and co-creator Ryan Murphy discussed during the series’ inception.

“If you go back to the first season, everything was a set up for this final chapter,” said Canals. “Stories have a beginning, middle and an end, and this final season was the end of this three-arc, this three-act rather, narrative that we’ve been telling … It’s us finally allowing our characters to explore what it means to have all of the things that they very clearly stated in the first season that they wanted.”

PHOTO: Billy Porter appears in an episode from the second season of the FX show, "Pose," in 2019.

“It came from a place of my wanting, not only to be seen and heard and to be affirmed, but also to center and honor Black people, and Latin X and Afro Latin X people and queer and trans people because those are my family. Those are my friends,” he added.

The FX series, created by Murphy, Canals and Brad Falchuk, premiered in June 2018 and follows the lives of queer and transgender people of color in New York City’s underground ballroom scene during the late 1980s and early 1990s, which was the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The drama series made history by featuring the largest cast of transgender actors in series regular roles and the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ actors ever for a scripted series.

The final season takes place in 1994 and ballroom emcee Pray Tell, played by Billy Porter, struggles with health issues as AIDS becomes the leading cause of death for Americans ages 25 to 44. Meanwhile, Blanca, played by MJ Rodriguez, faces personal challenges with balancing motherhood, a new relationship and her latest role as a nurse’s aide.

Rodriguez said that working on this series which celebrates the LGBTQ community taught her to “take up the space that I need” and to “be accountable for the space as a whole for the other people as well, and do it to the best ability that I can.”

“I never was able to speak up like how I was able to speak up in this show,” said Rodriguez. “I had been a part of the industry at a very young age and what came with that was me feeling like I had to be limited in what I had to say and how I had to speak or if I had even an opportunity to speak up.”

PHOTO: Mj Rodriguez, Billy Porter and Angel Bismark appear in an episode from the third season of the FX show, "Pose."

“I think that’s what the best thing for me was that I was able to have the liberty to speak, even when I was afraid to speak,” she continued. “I had the liberty to delve into the character like how I wanted to, and not be questioned.”

For Porter, the last season of the award-winning series will be personal. He said the show’s co-creators and writers will include “uncomfortable” conversations and topics in this season’s script that “have been in the forefront of my mind.”

“One of the goals for me as a Black, queer, and spiritual person is that really uncomfortable conversation between the LGBTQ plus community and the Black church,” said Porter in a virtual discussion on Monday. “It’s very powerful, it’s very emotional and I’m looking forward to the conversation that it cracks open once this particular episode airs.”

As the series comes to a close, the cast members, writers and co-creators expressed the important messages they want fans to remember from the series, particularly LGBTQ youth of color.

Indya Moore who plays Angel Evangelista said transgender youth watching the show should know that they are “magical and powerful and beautiful and you’re capable of creating everything for yourself that this world refuses to give you, or allow you to have access.”

PHOTO: Dyllon Burnside, Hailie Sahar, Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore and Angel Bismark Curiel appear in the third season of the FX show, "Pose."

“You are more than enough from the beginning,” said Dominique Jackson, who portrays Elektra. “And those struggles, those hardships, the stuff that you think are the things that are supposed to stop you … is what is telling you that you have the power and the strength to overcome. So never, ever give up.”

“I think it’s essential to uplift the women on this show,” said Janet Mock, executive producer, writer and director of “Pose”. “And for me, it is that celebration and centering and loving and appreciation of Black trans women that they created this space, that they brought everyone else in with them, and that at the end of the day they’re often the ones most forgotten.”

“This show was created by and for our community,” said Canals emotionally as he reflected on the final season. “I hope, if nothing else, that all of the folks out there who happened to be part of the LGBTQ plus community, and all of those folks who happen to also be Black and Brown, that they always know that I, and all of my collaborators … we will always have your back, that we will always see you ,that we will always affirm you. That the work will always be to honor you.”

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