Out gay “Pose” actor Jason Rodriguez is spearheading a new talent agency focused on developing queer and transgender performers of color.
Earlier this month, Rodriguez — known for playing the character Lemar Khan on “Pose” — and manager Ricardo Sebastián, a queer, non-binary Latinx person, unveiled the Arraygency, a talent agency in New York that will exclusively cultivate trans and queer entertainers of color. Rodriguez wants to mentor queer and trans artists, who often lack support in their careers.
Rodriguez, who hails from the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, portrayed a character who navigated the ballroom scene across the houses of Abundance, Ferocity, Wintour, and Evangelista before creating the House of Khan. Now, with the third and final season of the groundbreaking FX series complete, Rodriguez told reporters he is setting his sights on helping emerging talent rise to the forefront.
“To bring these BIPOC, queer and trans folks and make sure that they’re supported and understand the ropes, and the connectors, and the movements in these industries — so they are not lost,” Rodriguez told the New York Daily News. “Most of the times, we haven’t been given the opportunity to learn these creative moves and ventures and terminology because of our identities, because we’re Latinx, because we’re Black, because we’re queer, we’re trans.”
As a gay man of color, Rodriguez said he experienced many of these challenges while starring in “Pose.” “When I stepped into “Pose” (2018), I was still learning,” Rodriguez told the New York Daily News. “Everything for me was a learning curve, learning what it meant to have an agent, to have your manager.”
In the past, Rodriguez struggled to find managers who would fight for his worth and career. That has not been the case with Sebastián, who has brought in a range of lucrative opportunities not only for Rodriguez but for dozens of others in the ballroom scene. “It wasn’t until I met Ricardo that I finally found somebody to be part of my team with that sense of urgency and hustle, and most importantly, [someone who] related to my identity, me being queer, me being gay,” Rodriguez explained.
According to the agency’s website, the talent group will highlight “equity, diversity, and inclusion to better meet the needs of BIPOC, queer and trans creatives in the entertainment industry and ensure equal access to opportunities for all.” Rodriguez and Sebastián said in an Instagram Live post that they are still scouting for new talent and seek individuals who are vocal about their needs. The founders are announcing their roster of performers today on August 20.
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