I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for everything LGBTQIA+ on TV! I take on TV’s biggest stories through the rainbow lens, and with summer just around the corner I’ve been keeping a close eye on the media world’s transition from wrapping up the spring TV season for the new slate of summer content. The CW’s “Black Lightning” wrapped its first season on Tuesday, where Anissa Pierce (aka, Thunder) has been kicking ass as the black lesbian heroine of our dreams; waiting in the network wings is Ryan Murphy’s FX series “Pose,” the period NYC drag culture series that dropped a lengthy trailer in anticipation of its June premiere. And last but not least is the first batch of GLAAD Media Awards winners, who took home rainbow accolades last week at the organization’s West Coast ceremony.
The CW’s new kid on the comic book block, “Black Lightning,” has had a terrific first season, featuring the return of Black Lightning to the streets of Freeland, a heartfelt story of a family rallying together in times of need, and “the best undertaking of Black Lives Matter on television,” according to Autostraddle. The show is well-paced and has avoided the stereotypical pitfalls of the secret superhero with a day job, but its crowning achievement have been the journey of super-powered sisters Jennifer and Anissa, who inherited some fantastic abilities from their dad Jefferson Pierce (aka, Black Lightning). The season finale finally saw Jen’s acceptance of her powers and a life of heroics beside her sister and father, bringing together all three supers, their brilliant neuroscientist mom Lynn, and honorary grandpa Gambi as the ASA closes in on them.
Jen’s acceptance of the family business sets up the canon triad of supers from the original comics and allows her character room to grow next season; her sister, Anissa, doesn’t fare so well. Yes, Anissa (aka, Thunder) is the black lesbian superhero of my dreams, but whatever happened to cutie (and canon girlfriend) Grace Choi? The pair hit it off in the first few episodes of the season, but the romance was pushed to the back burner to accommodate other storylines. When does Thunder finally get some love? I’ll never tire of seeing Thunder utterly destroy some government yes men, but please, give the woman a date night once in a while. Hopefully, Season 2 will be kinder to Anissa’s love life than Season 1.
Next up is the new trailer for Ryan Murphy’s “Pose,” a throwback to the 1980s drag ball scene in NYC that melds “Paris is Burning,” the high art of vogueing and vibrant, masterful drag that has me gagged for the upcoming season. The series already made LGBTQIA+ TV history by hiring only trans actors to play the roles of trans characters, creating the biggest cast of trans series regulars ever on a single show (read more about the “Pose” stars here). Additionally, Murphy has made a serious effort to give trans talent a large role behind the scenes, working with his Half Initiative to hire trans directors for the series via his Directing Mentorship Program. Trans writers Janet Mock and Our Lady J are also pulling double-duty as producers with Erica Kay.
I’m calling it now: the FX series will be the rainbow highlight of the summer TV season. I can’t wait for the series premiere (June 3), but until then I’ll just be over here, rewatching this trailer and drooling over all those rhinestones.
Finally, the names of the first batch of GLAAD Media Awards winners were announced after the organization’s West Coast ceremony last Thursday night. “This Is Us” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” received the awards for best drama and comedy series, while “Master of None’s” fantastic “Thanksgiving” episode received an accolade for outstanding individual episode. According to Page Six, Halle Berry presented the award to Lena Waithe, who co-wrote and starred in the episode with Aziz Ansari; Waithe previously received a Primetime Emmy for “Thanksgiving,” becoming the first black lesbian to win a Primetime Emmy for writing.
Also among the honorees was Britney Spears, who received the Vanguard Award from presenter and fellow artist Ricky Martin. The Vanguard Award acknowledges entertainers who have made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people. See Brit-Brit’s acceptance speech above.
See the list of GLAAD Media Awards winners (so far) below. The rest of the winners will be announced at GLAAD’s East Coast ceremony in NYC on May 5.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
“This Is Us” (NBC)
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Fox)
OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL EPISODE
“Thanksgiving,” “Master of None” (Netflix)
OUTSTANDING KIDS & FAMILY PROGRAMMING
“Andi Mack” (Disney Channel)
OUTSTANDING FILM- LIMITED RELEASE
“A Fantastic Woman” (Sony Pictures Classics)
OUTSTANDING TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
“When We Rise” (ABC)
OUTSTANDING COMIC BOOK
Black Panther: World of Wakanda, written by Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yona Harvey, Rembert Browne (Marvel Comics)
OUTSTANDING DAILY DRAMA
“The Bold and The Beautiful” (CBS)
OUTSTANDING SCRIPTED TELEVISION SERIES (SPANISH LANGUAGE)
“Las chicas del cable” (Netflix)
OUTSTANDING DIGITAL JOURNALISM ARTICLE
“Why Bisexual Men Are Still Fighting to Convince Us They Exist” by Samantha Allen (Splinter)
OUTSTANDING DIGITAL JOURNALISM (SPANISH-LANGUAGE)
“Tres hermanitos para dos papás” (laopinion.com)