Porter makes Emmy history as first openly gay black actor up for a win

Billy Porter.
The category is – History in the making!

Waves of adoration came pouring in for American actor Billy Porter (49) after the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards honoured him with a nomination for the Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role in Pose.

Pose is a show about the ballroom culture in New York City in the 1980s and 1990s, particularly portraying the lives of African-American and Latino trans, gay and gender-nonconforming New Yorkers.

The show has made television history for being the largest transgender cast and is produced by Hollywood super-producer Ryan Murphy who has helmed powerhouse shows such as: Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story and American Crime Story.

“Billy Porter is a gifted actor whose historic nomination will inspire so many LGBTQ fans who cheer for him each week on Pose,” commented Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of LGBTQ media lobby group, GLAAD. 

“He is a force for change in the entertainment industry, who consistently uses his voice to send game-changing messages of individuality and empowerment”.

“My breath is taken away. I’m so thrilled. It’s an amazing feeling,” gushed Porter, who started his career on Broadway and is already a Tony and Grammy award winner.

“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, [producer] Ryan Murphy behind it,” he said.

“It’s really life-altering”.

Porter also pointed out that his nomination marks the first time an openly gay Black actor has been nominated in the Lead Actor category.

“It really opens up and creates a different kind of conversation in a different space,” said Porter. 

“It’s about representation. It’s about all people’s stories being told. It’s about the art. We creative people have the power to transform hearts and minds doing the work that we do and I am just thrilled to be able to do that. It feels like a calling. I’ve lived in that ministry, came up in the ’80s and lived through the
plague – and I’m here for a reason. I’m here so I can be on this other side to tell this story about this world. We’re here. We’ve always been here and we’re not going anywhere – get used to it”.

Porter said that his 50th birthday is the day before the Emmy ceremony and he hopes that the win will be a great blessing for him. Pose is currently in its second season on FX.