“And The Category Is: Love!”

Billy Porter makes history winning the Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series
Billy Porter makes history as the first openly gay black man to win the ‘Best Actor/Drama Series’ Emmy Award (screen capture)

“And the category is: Love!”

Making history tonight, Billy Porter was honored as ‘Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series’ for his work as ‘Pray Tell’ in the ground-breaking FX series POSE at the 2019 Emmy Awards.

Quoting James Baldwin, he began his thank yous, “It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here. I have the right – You have the right – We ALL have the right!”

He then acknowledged the men nominated in his category which included Bob Odenkirk, Jason Bateman, Kit Harington, Milo Ventimiglia, and Sterling K. Brown: “It is an honor to be up here breathing the same air that y’all breathe.”

After thanking his cast members and his team, he turned to the co-creator of the show: “Ryan Murphy! Ryan Murphy! Ryan Murphy! You saw me and believed in us! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

Porter closed his thanks saying, “We as the artists are the people that can 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!”

POSE, also nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, made its mark from the get-go with the largest transgender cast in the history of television.

Having won a Tony Award for his performance as ‘Lola’ in the hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, and a Grammy Award for the show’s original cast recording, tonight’s honor moves Porter just an Oscar shy of an EGOT.

Watch his joyful acceptance speech below.

Afterward, Porter became emotional backstage when asked how his win can empower the LGBTQ community.

“Visibility and representation are the only things that create change,” he told reporters. “It’s when we are visible that we have the power to create empathy through the way we tell stories. I know that being black and gay and out and being in this position and speaking in the position that I get to speak from is the change. I hope that young, queer people of all colors can look at me and know that they can.”

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