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How Madonna's 'Vogue' Helped Shape 'Pose' Season 2 Narrative

The cast and creators of the groundbreaking FX drama talk about the pop icon's impact on New York's LGBTQ ballroom scene in 1990.

The second installment of FX awards season breakout Pose jumps from the '80s to 1990, the year New York's LGBTQ ballroom scene was illuminated by the dazzling glare of Madonna's 'Vogue.' According to co-creator Steven Canals, the pop icon's intense fascination with the art of voguing and its originators injected a crucial dose of optimism into a community that was facing increased marginalization as the HIV/AIDS crisis worsened in the U.S.

'We introduce Madonna's 'Vogue' in the premiere and I think the presence of the song is really woven throughout season two. If we're looking at the history of ballroom and specifically that moment in time, what Madonna did was bring ballroom to the mainstream,' Canals tells The Hollywood Reporter. 'She introduced the world to this community who, up until that point in time, had been a subculture.'

'Vogue' - inspired by the pioneering dance moves of ballroom leaders and their underground celebrations of self-expression - was a massive hit. Reaching No. 1 in more than 30 countries not long after its March 1990 release, the song soon became inescapable. Madonna's decision to include real-life ballroom luminaries in its accompanying music video - and, later, a world tour - seemed to signal greater opportunities for trans and queer people of color.

Writer, producer and director Janet Mock says that she was interested in exploring the commentary surrounding ballroom's sudden exposure. 'What do these people think about the mainstreaming of something that had just been incubating for years in secret? A lot of the ballroom community felt they were stars,' she says, adding that the Pose team conferred with in-house consultant and ballroom king Jose Xtravaganza, one of the lucky few chosen to be part of Madonna's 'Vogue' era. 'They felt like they had been preparing for years for their closeups. This finally felt like their time.'

Indeed, Tuesday's season two premiere (airing at 10 p.m. on FX) sees Mj Rodriguez's Blanca thinking of ways to make the most of the moment. 'Madonna is shining a bright spotlight on us,' she says at one point, and later declares, 'We are on the cusp of a revolution.' Galvanized, Blanca - the founder and mother of the House of Evangelista - encourages her kids Angel (Indya Moore) and Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) to seriously pursue their respective passions for modeling and dance.

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