Billy Porter Makes History as First Openly Gay Black Man to Win Emmy for Outstanding Actor in Drama Series

Porter won for playing ballroom emcee Pray Tell in FX's landmark series, "Pose."
Billy Porter arrives for the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, USA, 22 September 2019. The Primetime Emmys celebrate excellence in national primetime television broadcasting.Arrivals - 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, Los Angeles, USA - 22 Sep 2019
Billy Porter

In a historic moment for the Primetime Emmy Awards, openly gay actor Billy Porter took home the award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his moving portrayal of ballroom emcee Pray Tell in FX’s landmark LGBT showcase, “Pose.” He is the first gay black actor to win the prize.

The show, created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals, received a total of six nominations, including for Outstanding Drama Series. “Pose” recently wrapped its superb second season, set in the early 1990s as the AIDS crisis takes hold of the gay community in New York and across the country. Over the summer, the series was renewed by FX for a third season, which has yet to begin production.

Porter has had a banner year, from slaying it with killer couture everywhere from the 2019 Academy Awards to the Met Gala, but he also received a Golden Globe nomination, and honors from the Black Reel Awards for Television, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and the GLAAD Media Awards.

While on the awards circuit earlier this year, Billy Porter talked about pushing many boundaries in the series, including a quietly revolutionary sex scene on the second-to-last episode of this season. It’s still unusual to see two guys going at it on network television, especially two men of color.

“I spent 30 years of my career never being the object of anybody’s affection in anything. As gay people, they cut our dicks off, it’s nonsexual, and then when the sexual, loving stories started being told, it was always with the white boys,” Porter said. “It was such a healing moment for me. It’s the next level and the next layer in understanding, owning, and putting on the armor that is that ‘leading man’ thing.”

Among the many accomplishments for the FX series about 1980s ball culture includes holding the most transgender actors in a scripted series to be nominated at the Emmys ever — including Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Angelica Ross, and Hailie Sahar.

Porter once again nailed it on the red carpet with a fabulous outfit and hat.

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