Mj Rodriguez Makes History as the First Transgender Actress to Win A Golden Globe, But Is It Enough?
History is in the making as Michaela Jae Rodriguez becomes the first trans actress to take home a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV drama for her role as Blanca Evangalista in the FX series, "Pose". Though the show has received Golden Globe nominations in the past like best drama television series and best actor in a TV drama for Rodriguez’s co-star Billy Porter for his role as Pray Tell, this monumental award will serve as the series’ first win.
Rodriguez took to Instagram to relish in her victory writing,
“OMG OMGGG!!!! @goldenglobes Wow! You talking about sickening birthday present. Thank you! This is the door that is going to open the door for many more young talented individuals. They will see that it is more than possible. They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark New Jersey who had a dream, to change the minds of others WITH LOVE. LOVE WINS. To my young LGBTQAI babies WE ARE HERE the door is now open now reach the stars!!!!! @goldenglobes”.
She later took to Instagram Live to give a speech,
"This is for the LGBTQAI, Black, Latina, Asian [communities], the many multi beautiful colors of the rainbow… This is not just for me, this is for yawl. This is the door that opens for yawl!”
Many of Rodriguez’s close friends also took to Instagram to celebrate her and her big win. Co-star Ryan Jamaal Swain who portrays Damon Richardson-Evangelista in the show writes,
“And just like that… my mother on the page but my sis in life is a Golden Globe winner. To the incomparable @mjrodriguez7 proud of you endlessly.” (Read the entire post below.)
Long time friend and trans activist, Laverne Cox also joins in on the praising stating,
“I am so incredibly PROUD tonight to celebrate my sister @mjrodriguez7 who made history tonight as the first trans actress to win at the #GoldenGlobes for her iconic work on @poseonfx. You are the dream realized my beautiful sister. You are overflowing with talent the world has yet to see the full breath of. Your work ethic and dedication is exemplary."
Despite this remarkable moment both for Rodriquez and the LGBTQ community entirely, her victory comes during a very controversial year for the Golden Globes. This year, the category is SHADE as NBC makes the decision to not air the Golden Globes after a report made from the Los Angeles Times calls out the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. for financial and ethical problems along with the fact that out of 87 members, there isn't one Black member.
Millions took to social media to boycott the Golden Globes entirely, leading up to the popular rise of the hashtag #TIMESUPGLOBES. Many celebrities like Judd Apatow, Ava DuVernay and Shonda Rhimes spoke up via Twitter to voice their disappointment.
“Old news. New energy. #TimesUpGlobes”
Rhimes joins the boycott tweeting,
“A cosmetic fix isn’t enough.” #TIMESUPGlobes #TIMESUP
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association released a statement in an exclusive with the Los Angeles Times, responding to the controversy stating,
“We are fully committed to ensuring our membership is reflective of the communities around the world who love film, TV and the artists inspiring and educating them. We understand that we need to bring in Black members, as well as members from other underrepresented backgrounds, and we will immediately work to implement an action plan to achieve these goals as soon as possible.”
It now raises the question of if this incredible moment was robbed from Rodriguez and the community entirely for the simple fact that we’re still having conversations about diversity and representation?
Unlike this year, winners in the past are able to be called up on a big, grand stage to accept their awards while their families and friends cheer them on from the audience. Winners are then able to deliver a thank you speech, discussing the obstacles they’ve overcome and the people that have aided them along the way. This huge headline moment has now been belittled to an Instagram post and virtual likes and comments.
Instead of congratulatory articles discussing the big wins and trendy red carpet looks, headlines from the New York Post read, “Screw the irrelevant Golden Globes awards and their boring winners” or “The Golden Globes that nobody watched were still a big old mess” via The Washington Post.
A once prestigious award now diminished to something equitable to a pat on the back and yet another victory that will be overlooked for the community.
While it’s important to focus on the positive and take this moment in, it's difficult not to see this as yet another tactic to silence LGBTQ voices and our accomplishments. It’s the lack of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s diversity awareness that is now allowing other actors to not receive their proper recognition. Although the fight towards representation is something that can no longer go unaddressed, one can say it’s unfortunate that it’s done at the sacrifice of other artists who truly deserved the spotlight this past weekend.