Billy Porter Becomes First Openly Gay, Black Man To Win Best Actor (Photo: Twitter)
Actor Billy Porter took home the trophy of best actor in drama for his role in "Pose" at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, becoming the first openly gay, black man, to win the prize. Pose, created by Ryan Murphy and Steven Canals, focuses on the extravagant subculture of the LGBTQ ballroom scene in late 1980s and early 1990s New York, as well of the lives of the people of the community. On the show, Porter plays the gregarious emcee Pray Tell.
In his acceptance speech, the actor quoted from James Baldwin's 1960 essay "They Can't Turn Back".
"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 if I had a right to be here," Porter said as he recited Baldwin.
"I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right," he added.
The actor, who attended the ceremony dressed in a shimmery black outfit adorned with over 130,000 crystals and a matching custom hat, thanked his husband, his manager and cast of "Pose" and concluded his speech with a call to action.
"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," he said.
Porter beat out fellow nominees Jason Bateman ("Ozark"), Sterling K Brown ("This Is Us"), Kit Harington ("Game of Thrones"), Bob Odenkirk ("Better Call Saul"), and Milo Ventimiglia ("This Is Us").
"Pose" received six Emmy nominations this year, including Porter's category and drama series.
The second season of the FX drama wrapped last month and has been renewed for a third season.
The ceremony took place at the Microsoft Theater here.