Billy Porter Is First Gay Black Man To Win Emmy For Lead Actor In A Drama

The Pose star's victory makes him a step closer to achieving EGOT status.

Billy Porter continued his meteoric success streak at the 71st Emmy Awards on Sunday night with a history-making win.

Billy won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as ballroom emcee Pray Tell on the FX series Pose. The win made him the first gay black man to receive the honour in the category.

“It took many years of vomiting up all the filth that I had been taught about myself, and halfway believed, before I was could walk around this earth like I had the right to be here,” the actor told the crowd, quoting James Baldwin. “I have the right, you have the right ― we all have the right!”

“We, as artists, are the people who that get to change the molecular structure of the hearts and minds of the people who live on this planet,” he added. “Please don’t ever stop doing that. Please don’t ever stop telling the truth.”

The significance of Porter’s win did not go unnoticed by fans and LGBTQ advocates, who began tweeting their praise immediately after the announcement.

Produced by Ryan Murphy, Pose follows members of the New York’s ballroom community in the 1980s and ’90s. Now in its second season, the series boasts the largest cast of transgender performers as regulars, as well as the largest recurring LGBTQ cast ever, of any scripted show ever produced.

Billy Porter attends the The 71st Emmy Awards- Press Room at Microsoft Theater
Billy Porter attends the The 71st Emmy Awards- Press Room at Microsoft Theater
David Crotty via Getty Images

The 50-year-old, who won a Tony Award in 2013 for Broadway’s “Kinky Boots,” previously described his Pose experience as “really life-altering.”

“My outness was always considered a liability for me and that has turned around,” he told People magazine in July, upon learning of the historic Emmy nomination. “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.”

“I’m glad to be out of that box,” he added.

Having won an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony award, Porter only needs an Oscar to achieve EGOT status.


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