What's Rising

Billy Porter makes history as first gay black man to receive lead Emmy nom: ‘I feel really blessed’

Pray Tell, have we made history?

Billy Porter, a veteran actor who has made his living primarily in theater over the last 30 years, can now add a new honor to his list: the distinction of being the first openly gay African-American man to be nominated for an Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy.

‘My breath is taken away,’ Porter, 49, told People Magazine on Tuesday of his first-ever Primetime Emmy nomination. ‘I’m so thrilled. It’s an amazing feeling.’

Pray Tell what do we have here: Billy Porter, a veteran theater actor, can now add a new honor to his list: being the first openly gay African-American man to be nominated for an Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy; (pictured May)

Pray Tell what do we have here: Billy Porter, a veteran theater actor, can now add a new honor to his list: being the first openly gay African-American man to be nominated for an Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy; (pictured May)

Porter received the nod in the drama series category for his lead role as outspoken ball emcee Pray Tell on Ryan Murphy’s FX show Pose.

Pose received one other nomination on Tuesday—for Outstanding Drama Series. 

The show, currently airing its second season, is a look back at the multi-racial LGBTQ ballroom ‘scene’ in the New York City of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, when the struggles against the AIDS epidemic and the fight for equality were at fever pitch.

The show features the fashion, opulence and high drama of the time, both on the dance floor and off. 

Getting his due: Porter received the nod in the drama series category for his lead role as outspoken ball emcee Pray Tell on Ryan Murphy's FX show Pose

Getting his due: Porter received the nod in the drama series category for his lead role as outspoken ball emcee Pray Tell on Ryan Murphy’s FX show Pose

Work it: The show, currently airing its second season, is a look back at the multi-racial LGBTQ ballroom 'scene' in the New York City of the late ¿80s and early ¿90s, when the struggles against the AIDS epidemic and the fight for equality were at fever pitch

Work it: The show, currently airing its second season, is a look back at the multi-racial LGBTQ ballroom ‘scene’ in the New York City of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, when the struggles against the AIDS epidemic and the fight for equality were at fever pitch

‘I feel really blessed to have lived long enough to see this day, to see the world transform in this way, where our story gets to be told on this level with this kind of juice behind it, Ryan Murphy behind it,’ Porter told People. ‘It’s really life-altering.’  

‘I’ve been in this business for 30 years,’ he continued. ‘My outness was always considered a liability for me and that has turned around. In my life in the business, having that flamboyant ability, very often that’s where you’re pigeonholed, that’s where you’re sort of put in a box.’ 

But the self-admittedly flamboyant performer, who won a Tony award for his starring role in Kinky Boots on Broadway, is thankful to see that things have changed.

Belle of the ball: 'I feel really blessed to have lived long enough to see this day, to see the world transform in this way, where our story gets to be told on this level with this kind of juice behind it, Ryan Murphy behind it,' Porter said, here seen in a promotional still for FX's Pose

Belle of the ball: ‘I feel really blessed to have lived long enough to see this day, to see the world transform in this way, where our story gets to be told on this level with this kind of juice behind it, Ryan Murphy behind it,’ Porter said, here seen in a promotional still for FX’s Pose

‘I’m glad to be out of that box. I’m glad that Pray Tell gets to be a really three-dimensional human being.’

Porter feels close to Pray Tell’s journey for many reasons.

While his character on Pose became HIV positive in season 1, Porter has been involved in the fight against the epidemic since he came to New York in the Eighties. 

‘I came out in 1985, ’86, around that time, and went straight to the front lines to fight for our lives. This is why I’m here,’ Porter recollected. 

‘I lived for a reason. I lived to be able to tell the story on the other side, to be able to remind people that were human beings. We’re real people and it’s not about acceptance and it’s not about tolerance, it’s about demanding respect for our humanity. Stop putting our humanity up for legislation and treat us like we’re human beings. That’s all that I care about. And that’s what this show gets to do. It’s really remarkable.’

Pose airs Tuesdays evenings on FX .

The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will air Sept. 22 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Thankful: The self-admittedly flamboyant performer, who won a Tony award for his starring role in Kinky Boots on Broadway, is thankful to see that things have changed

Thankful: The self-admittedly flamboyant performer, who won a Tony award for his starring role in Kinky Boots on Broadway, is thankful to see that things have changed

Daily Mail UK

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

To Top