Steven Canals Was Told 'No' Over 100 Times, But One 'Yes' Led to 6 Pose Emmy Nominations

Illustration for article titled Steven Canals Was Told 'No' Over 100 Times, But One 'Yes' Led to 6 Pose Emmy Nominations

I’ve been gay as hell for some time now. I didn’t always have the language to articulate this, but I’ve had this affinity for a month of Sundays. Growing up, representation was lacking, so black women were what I turned to.


I knew good and well I wasn’t a black woman—I wasn’t that blessed—but they portrayed characteristics that I admired and saw in myself. Through watching them I learned resilience, perseverance and that no man is worth my happiness. This has kept them atop my Christmas list.

Even though black women were ever-present in the shaping of who I am, I was still lacking in the homosexual department. God bless networks like HBO and MTV, that had programs like Real Sex and Undressed. These shows were some of my first experiences seeing gay men on television. They were few and far between, but they existed. The internet, selective programming, and friends helped me become the gay man I am today.

Today, young members of the LGBTQ+ community don’t have to share my struggle for finding representation in television. TV shows like Pose are making it possible for them to see themselves in ways that young Corey only dreamed of. Never in my gay life did I think that I’d hear a discussion about tops and bottoms on national television, and yet, here we are! In conversation with Steven Canals, Pose’s co-creator, I shared my hope that he portray the current state of endangered tops in the gay community in another project. We tabled that conversation, but Canals touched on what the show’s recent Emmy nominations mean to the LGBTQ+ community.

“If I’d been told in 2004 when I first conceived Pose, that this show—which unapologetically centers LGBTQ people of color— would make history and earn a nomination from the TV Academy, I wouldn’t have believed it,” said Canals, presumably with pride and joy oozing from his being.

Fun Fact: Before the yes that gave Pose the greenlight, Canals heard “no” over 100 times. Luckily he didn’t let that no stop him. Fifteen years after Canals conceived Pose, it is here inspiring and saving lives on a weekly basis. Canals’ consistent fight for our stories to be told shows the importance of being persistent and never tiring in the pursuit of your goals.

Canals continued: “I am proud of our cast, crew, producers and humbled by this recognition from the TV Academy.” From my dealings with the cast, I can undoubtedly say that these are a talented group of people who are using their gifts not only to entertain us but bring light to issues that have been ignored for far too long.


During our conversation, Canals and I realized that neither of us had a love for “the sports.” They were not our ministry, nor were they our portion. “Growing up in the Bronx, the Emmys and Oscars were my Super Bowl,” joked Canals, adding, “to receive a nomination from my peers and to have it be for this show that unapologetically centers LGBTQ Black and Latinx people is humbling.” Canals said this nomination is confirmation that the message of love and inclusivity resonated.

Pose received not one, but six whole entire nominations. These nominations mark a “sea of change,” according to the creative, and serve as a reminder that we as a community will no longer be ignored or silenced.


I, for one, am grateful for Canals tenacity and glad that I can live in a world where Pose exists to help the next generation of Coreys.

Chief Beyoncé Content Officer @ TheRoot. I aspire to be as steadfast & unmovable as Solange's wig. Former President of Hogwart's Black Student Union.