Last year, Billy Porter made history as the first openly gay Black man to win the Emmy Award for Lead Actor in a Drama for his turn as Pray Tell, the no-nonsense ballroom MC with a heart of gold, on FX’s critically acclaimed Pose. This year, he is nominated again and although he says the win would be amazing, Porter says it’s not about the trophies.
“First and foremost let me say, I’m an artist first,” said Porter, speaking at a virtual panel for Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees. “I don’t do this because I want to win awards… awards are amazing… they are so much fun. You hold space for both.”
Porter continued, “As a Black gay man whose queerness was considered my liability for the first 25 years-plus of my career, it’s been breathtaking to watch that flip — to watch what was considered my liability for so long become the thing that everyone is responding to.”
He went on to say that when it comes to who he is and what he represents in the film and TV business, an award makes a difference for him in a different way than his white counterparts.
“My white counterparts work all the time whether than win awards or not,” he said. “My life actually does change. My life did change from winning an award.”
Porter emphasizes that those changes were for the better but that he works hard to make it not be about the accolades. “I work very hard to make it about my work — it’s always about the work first. The icing on the cake is when people received it like this… I’m very honored.”
Check out the video above, and click here to watch all of Sunday’s Contenders TV panels.
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