Billy Porter Interview: ‘Pose’

“It was significant for me as a black, gay, out actor to be in a category that has never seen the likes of me,” reveals Billy Porter about the awards recognition he has received for his performance in the FX drama series “Pose.” He received Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice nominations for Best TV Drama Actor for his role as Pray Tell, a vivacious emcee on the LGBTQ ball scene in 1980s New York City. Watch our exclusive video interview with Porter above or listen to the audio version below.

The work is more important than the awards for Porter, but he is no stranger to either. He knows what it’s like to put in eight shows a week on several Broadway productions, and he won a Tony and a Grammy for the musical “Kinky Boots.” But in the case of a series like “Pose,” which has broken ground on television with its depiction of queer people of color, awards are undoubtedly important. “Mainstream recognition matters for us specifically because it allows for larger groups of people to figure out, understand, and know who we are,” Porter explains. “That helps us to be in a position to continually keep telling these kinds of stories.”

“Pose” was co-created by the openly gay Ryan Murphy, and the show features an unprecedented cast of trans women of color in series regular roles, plus trans women like Janet Mock and Our Lady J behind the camera as well. That seemed unimaginable just 10 or 20 years ago. “I grew up in a time when this was not an option. Telling these stories was not even something that you could even dream about. It just wasn’t a thing,” Porter says. “And I’m just so grateful to have lived long enough to see this day, to see this transition, to see this happen. Many disenfranchised communities are having an opportunity to show the world who we are and that we’re part of the human race.”

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UPLOADED May 2, 2019 3:23 pm