During the Sunday Emmys, Pose star Billy Porter won for best actor in a drama series at the awards show, officially making history as the first openly gay black man to win and be nominated as well. During his acceptance speech, Porter described how his win for his portrayal of Pray Tell in Ryan Murphy’s Pose was a significant event that will help pave the way for future opportunities for others involved in the LGBTQ+ community.
Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals’ groundbreaking FX series, has just been renewed for a fourth season and details the ins and outs of New York’s LGBTQ ballroom scene during the 1980s and early ’90s. The series also touches on other important historical events and personal unique and touching stories surrounding the LGBTQ community such as the AIDS crisis which has largely up until then not been addressed in modern-day mainstream media.
“I’m so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day,”exclaimed the 50-year-old star before quoting James Baldwin. “It took many years of vomiting up all the filth that I had been taught about myself and halfway believed before I could walk around this earth like I had the right to be there.” After a standing ovation from the crowd, Porter further added, “I have the right. You have the right.”
Known to his fans and friends as a Broadway veteran and Tony and Grammy winner, Porter also took time to thank the “many people who helped [him] get here along the way” and acknowledged the other actors nominated in his category: Jason Bateman for Netflix’s Ozark, Sterling K. Brown for NBC’s This Is Us, Kit Harrington fro HBO’s Game of Thrones, Bob Odenkirk for AMC’s Better Call Saul and Milo Ventimiglia for NBC’s This Is Us.
Porter continued to give an emotionally felt shout-out to Murphy, saying: “You saw me … thank you, thank you, thank you.” Porter then ended his speech by encouraging others in Hollywood to support more diversity by championing inclusive storytelling similar to that of Murphy’s Pose, which is well-known for featuring a core cast of trans actors of color— an unprecedented number for any other North American produced series.
“We are the people that get to change the molecular structure of the hearts and minds of the people who live on this planet,” Porter further mentioned before walking off stage. “Please don’t ever stop doing that, please don’t ever stop telling the truth.” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis announced her support for the historic win as well commenting: “Congratulations to Billy for this well-deserved honor and for always using his work and platform to showcase the power of being authentic.”