Metro Weekly

Billy Porter makes Emmy history as first gay black man to win Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Porter won for his role as Pray Tell in FX's 'Pose,' and is now three-quarters of the way to an EGOT

Billy Porter at the 2019 Emmy Awards

Billy Porter discussing his Emmy Award win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series — Photo: The Hollywood Reporter / YouTube

Pose star Billy Porter has made history as the first openly gay black man to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

Porter won for his role as Pray Tell in FX’s groundbreaking drama, set in New York City’s LGBTQ ballroom culture scene in the ’80s and ’90s.

Taking to the stage, Porter announced, “The category is love, you all! Love.”

“I am so overwhelmed and I am so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day,” he said. “[Gay writer and activist] James Baldwin said, ‘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 here.’ I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right.”

Porter, who also has a Tony Award for his lead role in musical Kinky Boots and a Grammy Award as part of the award-winning cast album, thanked Pose creator Ryan Murphy, saying, “You saw me. You believed in us. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.”

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

Porter is now just an Academy Award away from a full EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony).

Watch his full speech below:

Pose wrapped its second season last month, with a third season confirmed to debut sometime next year.

Activist, writer and director Janet Mock, who is a producer on Pose, recently teased what we can expect from the next season.

“I believe there will be a new House of Evangelista. I think that that’s something that we could boldly say that Blanca will likely have new children in season three,” Mock told Entertainment Weekly. “It makes sense — her children are grown. They’ll come and go. Family dinner may be bigger. I don’t know if Angel and Papi will have kids of their own. I don’t know what their home lives are going to look like. But I think that they’re also be [sic] very tethered to one another even though they go out and brand out and there may be new houses and all that good stuff.”

She added: “We haven’t talked specifically about season three at all. And so, what will happen is that this will air and we’ll see what everyone feels. We’ll go to the Emmy’s, have a nice celebration, you know, be in a room together. And then we’ll return back to the room and then start fighting each other again about what we want [laughs]. But I think, this set up for this finale, compared to last season, is that we know we have another season so we wanted to do [a finale] where it’s truly about new beginnings.”

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at

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