This is awesome news: Janet Mock has a new show that centralizes on taking a look at the seemingly meaningless ‘trashy TV’ and fluff entertainment. The online series, called “So POPular,” looks at celebrity and pop-culture news through Mock’s unique, progressive lens. In an interview with Cosmopolitan before the show’s launch, she explained, “My own subtitle in my head is ‘We take a deep look at the things you pretend you’re too smart to like.’” Like The Bachelor or Girls, for example—these are shows that most women say they turn off their social justice side to watch. Mock wants to enjoy, with an asterisk, and then discuss what pop culture means in the context of feminism and other forms of social justice politics.
This is super exciting on many fronts, but especially because Janet Mock is the first trans woman of color to have her own talk show! She’s now asking the questions, where normally people think they have the right to ask her all the questions—invasive, inappropriate ones (see Cosmo). This is a real-life example of the point she’s trying to get across with her #GirlsLikeUs campaign—trans women deserve to live visibly and have their opinions heard.
She’s also an author and activist of the times and brings a feminist woman of color’s view to what we take in on the daily. Where most radical activists boycott a ton of celebs and pop culture topics because they don’t fit their politics to a T, Mock’s show has the radical cultural critique without the usual disdain shown towards enjoying pop culture. Already, the show has discussed the TSA’s too-close-for-comfort relationship with women of color’s hair, Barbara Smith’s take on the new show Empire, Portlandia and Fresh Off the Boat, and so much more. She talks about how shows and celebrities can be fangirl material while also being fodder for societal critique and vehicles to further understand social structures. It’s an incredibly relatable show for many Millennial women, who have stepped up their game and written a ton of think pieces about what’s in the media. Her dream guest is Beyoncé, which we all have to admit is a dream we share.
MSNBC is the show’s host; their new web videos also have a series based around books and one around sports. They’ve explained that this is an effort to “keep evolving,” and to test these shows out before airing them on television screens nationwide. Let’s show our support of Mock’s show so we can see this series prosper.
Cover image courtesy of Janday Wilson.