Actress Angelica Ross Responds To 'POSE' Emmy Snub,Says She's 'Fatigued' Over Lack of Trans Humanity
The 2020 Emmy Award nominations were announced on Tuesday, and noticeably absent from the list of nominees were the trans women from the groundbreaking FX ballroom series POSE. Openly gay cis actor Billy Porter received his second nomination for his performance as ballroom MC Pray Tell. The Tony Award-winning actor made history in 2019 by becoming the first openly gay actor to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
And while it's great that Porter's hard work continues to be recognized by Emmy voters, it's become increasingly uncomfortable and suspicious that the trans women who help Porter carry the show and whose stories are centered in POSE continue to be overlooked for award recognition. Most notably, Angelica Ross (American Horror Story: 1984), MJ Rodriguez, and Indya Moore.
In the hours following the announcement of the 2020 Emmy nominations, Ross went live on Instagram to share how the snub affected her. The IG live began with Ross in tears before she'd even uttered a single sentence, but not for the reason many viewers assumed.
“I was foolishly thinking and praying that representation would truly change our culture," said Ross.
"And the reality is, I was getting DMd non-stop by people from all around the world who were moved by Candy’s performance, by the entire cast, by the whole season of POSE. And the fact that the trans women and the femmes of POSE continue to not be recognized, for me, it’s so much more than that, it’s so much deeper than that for me. It’s not just about a nomination or an award, it has a lot more implications for me."
Indeed, Ross' performance in "Candy's Sweet Refrain" (Season 2, Episode 4) was a cultural moment that vibrated across the world, especially juxtaposed to the almost weekly murders of Black trans women across America. The snub did not go unnoticed by trans activist and organizer Raquel Willis who fired off her thoughts in several tweets.
But Ross says the snub has far greater implications than just being denied an opportunity to take home a trophy. She then calls on Black institutions, who also have a poor record when it comes to inclusion of Black LGBTQ performers, to step up.
“For me, this ain’t about the award. This ain’t [just] about the Emmys. This is about the Emmys, this about the BET Awards, this is about The NAACP, this is about the Golden Globes…this is about America who refuses to acknowledge trans people and our humanity. We’re struggling to acknowledge our humanity. I’m doing everything I can in business, in tech, in television, in film to try," said Ross.
Steven Canals, co-creator of the series, pointed to the snub of Rodriguez as particularly egregious. As Blanca, the mother of the House of Evangelista, Rodriguez has been praised as being the emotional heart of Pose.In 2019, she became the first transgender woman to win Best Actress at the Imagen Awards, an annual event honoring positive representations of Latinx people in media, reports The Advocate.
POSE co-star Hailie Sahar cryptically addressed the Emmy snub by lifting her trans co-stars in a post on her Instagram, writing: "Together we stand with love as our guide."
Is the continued snub of the trans actors on POSE rooted in fear of a potential backlash from cis women actors that would be in the same category? We believe it's a question worth asking.
In a bright spot, Laverne Cox did receive a nomination for Guest Actress, Drama for the final season of Orange Is the New Black. Rain Valdez, who depicted Belle Jonas in Razor Tongue, also nabbed a nod for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama series.
BET and NAACP, the ball is in your court now to include all Black entertainers regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity in your award shows in 2021.
You can watch Ross' Instagram live in the video below.