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Billy Porter makes history as first openly gay black man to win acting Emmy

Emma Powys Maurice September 23, 2019

Billy Porter attends the The 71st Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California. (David Crotty/Patrick McMullan/ Getty)

Billy Porter has made LGBT+ history by becoming the first openly gay black man to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

Porter’s first-ever Emmy win was for his role playing Pray Tell, the ball MC and a male lead in FX’s groundbreaking musical drama Pose.

Dressed in his typical show-stopping style with sequinned suit and statement hat, Porter took to the stage shouting, “The category is love, y’all, love!”

He referenced the American American playwright and activist James Baldwin in his acceptance speech.

He told the crowd: “James Baldwin said, it took many years of vomiting up all the filth that I had been taught about myself, and halfway believed, before I was 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!”

After thanking his friends, colleagues and loved ones, Porter concluded: “We, as artists, are the people who 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.”

His words resonated with the crowd, who gave him a standing ovation.

The other nominees in the category were Jason Bateman in Ozark, Kit Harington in Game of Thrones, Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul, and both Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia in This Is Us.

LGBT+ advocates were among the first to congratulate Porter on the historic accolade.

Now he’s won an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony award, Porter only needs an Oscar to achieve EGOT status – the “grand slam” of American show business.

More: Billy Porter, egot, Emmy Awards, pose

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