EXCLUSIVE: Dyllon Burnside on his ‘POSE’ role and NYC benefit concert
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that POSE is one of the most important shows on television right now and we caught up with one of its stars, Dyllon Burnside, to find out how he feels about the success of the groundbreaking series and get details on his upcoming benefit concert in NYC.
POSE was created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals and explores the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in 1980s New York: the ball culture world, the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe and the downtown social and literary scene. It also offers an unparalleled look into the challenges that faced the LGBTQ community in the early years of the AIDS epidemic and highlights many obstacles they still contend with today.
On the show, LGBTQ characters live in “houses” led by “mothers” who have replaced the biological families who kicked them to the curb because they are trans or homosexual. These families provide a safe space for these young people who are constantly at risk of being harmed, assaulted and are often homeless.
Dyllon Burnside plays Ricky Evangelista, a homeless, gay man who is welcomed into his boyfriend’s newfound family led by their “mother” Blanca (MJ Rodriguez) who has recently left the confines of her previous home led by Elektra (Dominique Jackson) who is Blanca’s “mother” and occasional nemesis.
“I don’t think I fully understood and don’t fully understand how difficult things were for members of this community in the eighties and nineties because that’s not my experience,” admits Burnside. “I think that playing this character has given me additional perspective on what it was like in that world but I get to step out of it when the work day is over. I don’t pretend to relate to the struggles they faced. The show sheds light on what still happens today especially in the trans community. I didn’t have a foothold on what that experience was and I still don’t know, but I have a better understanding and I see how I operate in ways that I didn’t recognize.”
Plenty of fans are likely pissed off at Ricky right now because he snitched on his “brother” Papa (Angel Bismark Curiel) for selling drugs and got him kicked out of their home. The end result is yet to be seen on Sunday’s season finale, but Burnside says fans should consider his character’s position before they decide to stay mad.
“I would pose the question, ‘if it really as your brother, would you tell?’ I think that most people wouldn’t want their brother locked up or shot down in the streets because they’re selling drugs. It was more like, ‘I love you, but I need to do what’s best for you. Also, i can’t lie to my parent,'” he says. “Ricky has bought into the fact that this is his family. What would you do when your safety is threatened?”
Burnside revealed that he and his cast mates have established authentic friendships that continue when the cameras stop rolling.
“I am impressed by all of my cast mates on a daily basis. They are all amazingly talented human beings. I have spoken to several of my cast mates today and that is an indication of our relationship. We have definitely bonded in real life.”
He and his cast mates will celebrate the season finale of the series as well as the news that it has been renewed for a second season with a benefit concert in NYC on July 23.
“I thought it would be a great way to wrap up the season and celebrate the renewal for Season 2 so we are doing a concert that will benefit safe spaces across the country like the one Blanca and the other characters create on the show,” he says. “I will be singing some R&B , pop, hip-hop, handsome theater songs so it will be a mix of everything.”
Proceeds from the show at The Cutting Room will go to GLSEN.
The season finale of POSE airs J8uly 22 on FX.
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