OWN TV’s newest series David Makes Man is being lauded for its empathetic and authentic exploration of Black boyhood and the way it challenges viewers to ask themselves what choices they would make if they found themselves in similar circumstances, as one of the stars, Alana Arenas, told us.
The show also explores many aspects of manhood, including gender identity, via the character Mx. Elijah played by Travis Coles. And it gives Black males the opportunity to see the full spectrum of themselves, which we found out is more rare than we think on the red carpet for the series premiere at NeueHouse in West Hollywood.
We asked male members of the cast (and executive producer Michael B. Jordan) who, if anyone, they saw themselves in on TV when they were growing up and the responses ranged from no one to repeat names such as Will Smith. Unsurprisingly, the response wasn’t much different when we posed the question to trans actress Angelica Ross.
“I did not see myself on TV when I was growing up,” the Pose star shared, “especially as a Black trans woman. The closest I could see myself was through the struggles of Black women because they’re so similar to Black trans women, and I’m hoping that the more we have more visibility and representation the more we’ll actually see that trans and cis women are much more alike than we’re different.”
Later in the series, David Makes Man will delve into those similarities and increase the very representation Ross said is so desperately needed. But while the Oprah Winfrey Network is doing its part to diversify its narratives and in turn help viewers identify their shared experiences through the show’s characters, Ross would like to see everyday women doing their part when it comes to decreasing the divide among cis and trans women.
“I would love to see the same sisterhood that we’re starting to see more cis women having with each other include trans women and that every time we talk about women’s needs that we always say cis and trans just so that we recognize there’s such a spectrum of our needs. Whether we have children, whether we don’t, whether we’re fighting cancer, or whether we’re fighting other things, we need to fight together.”