Billy Porter makes history with Emmys win: ‘I have the right, we all have the right to be here’

MANILA, Philippines – He’s made heads turn on the red carpet with his oh-so-extra looks and hearts swell in his role as Pray Tell on Pose.

But it was on Monday morning, September 23 (Sunday evening, September 22 in the US), that Billy Porter’s star shined the brightest as he received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

“The category is love, y’all. I am so overwhelmed and I am so overjoyed to have lived long enough to have seen this day,” said Porter, who made history by being the first openly gay black man to win the category.

Quoting American author and activist James Baldwin, Porter said: “It 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 there.”

“I have the right, you have the right, we all have the right,” he said, flanked by the cast and crew of Pose.

The show for which Porter won his Emmy, Pose, is making history as well. It tells the story of African-American and Latino ball culture in downtown New York during the late 80s. Thus far, it is the first show to assemble the “largest cast” of transgender actors appearing as regulars in a scripted show.

His Emmy win also means Porter is one Oscar away from a rare “EGOT” – meaning a win in the Emmys, the Oscars, the Grammys, and the Tonys). Porter earlier won a Tony for Best Actor in 2013 and a Grammy for cast album in 2014. –