Activist and writer Janet Mock made history on Sunday, when the episode of Pose she wrote and directed aired on FX to virtually unanimous acclaim.
Mock became the first transgender person of colour to direct a TV show. “Love is the Message” was the sixth episode of the show’s inaugural season, for which Mock also worked as a writer—the first trans woman of colour to write for television—and producer. Set in the late 1980s, Pose focuses on life and society in New York City, from its iconic ball culture to the rise of the Donald Trump-like billionaires, against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis.
The musical drama series was created by acclaimed director, screenwriter and producer Ryan Murphy and features the largest transgender cast on television while also featuring trans talent behind the scenes—Transparent writer and producer Our Lady J also wrote and produced for Pose.
Mock, who was included in the prestigious Time 100 Most Influential People in the World this year for her work as an advocate for “marginalised communities everywhere,” had no previous experience directing or writing for television. She told Murphy she wanted this opportunity to “tell stories and to create the mirrors that I didn’t have growing up,” as she recalled in a recent article for Variety.
Mock live-tweeted during the episode, sharing insights into her directorial decisions and highlights. “We are deserving of opportunity & more than capable,” she wrote in a post featuring a picture of herself taken on her first night as a director on the set.