Updated: May 23
Warning: This Article Contains Spoilers.
There’s a buzz around HOLLYWOOD, the glamorous new LGBTQ period piece created by Ryan Murphy that takes place in the 1940’s. The Netflix show has a way of providing the same flirtatious, naive energy of a vintage romance flick while confronting the reality of racism, sexism, and homophobia in 1940's America.
The show gives us an alternate history of Hollywood, bringing it up to the realm of fantasy while posing the question, what if things had been different and there was justice in 1940’s Hollywood for queer people and people of color?
We meet several LGBTQ characters including Archie Coleman, a gay screenwriter who has a dream to get his screenplay made and has to fight to keep his name in the movie, all because he’s black and an out gay man. Then there’s Rock Hudson played by Jake Picking, Hattie McDaniel played by Queen Latifah, Henry Willson played by Jim Parsons and Dick Samuels played by Joe Mantello.
HOLLYWOOD was co-written and co-directed by trans activist Janet Mock and includes an all-star cast including the fabulous Jeremy Pope who plays the role of Archie in the Netflix mini-series. In an interview with The Guardian, Pope discusses his role as Archie and explains how it resonated with him growing up as a gay black teen in Orlando Florida, working on his craft as an actor and singer.
He says, “It’s easy for me to go back to a moment in my life where I felt that maybe I wasn’t good enough or I wasn’t allowed to stand in my truth when I was playing Archie.” Pope expresses that he felt support from his long-time friend and collaborator Janet Mock as they discussed the characters and the role that he would play.
Pope goes on to say, “Hollywood is a period piece but we can still identify with the struggles of the characters today – we’re still fighting for equal opportunities for women, for people of colour, for the LGBTQ community. I just hope that this show continues to inspire our generation of artists to keep fighting to establish that there is room for all of us.”
For queer people everywhere, this is a feel-good show that should serve as a reminder of how far we've come because of the courage and sacrifice of many, but it should also be a lesson that there is still a lot that hasn't changed and work that must be done.