Entertainment

Monday 16 September 2019

Billy Porter is first openly gay black man to earn Emmy nod for drama lead actor

The US actor and singer has previously won a Tony and Grammy.

Billy Porter at the Met Gala 2019 (Jennifer Graylock/PA)
Billy Porter at the Met Gala 2019 (Jennifer Graylock/PA)

By Alex Green, PA

Billy Porter has become the first openly gay black man to be nominated for an Emmy in the lead actor in a drama series category.

Porter, an American actor and singer, earned the nod for his turn as sharp-tongued emcee Pray Tell in Pose, the series about New York’s LGBT ballroom scene in the 1980s.

On his Instagram story, the 49-year-old wrote simply: “Ahhhhhhh, I’m screaming.”

The show, which is now in its second season and is broadcast on US channel FX, was also nominated in the drama series category.

Porter was also previously nominated for a Golden Globe for his work on the show, which features a number of queer and transgender actors.

Off-screen, he is known for his eye-grabbing sartorial choices.

He attended the 91st Academy Awards wearing a tuxedo-gown hybrid. The top half looked like classic men’s formalwear but the bottom blossomed out into a full velvet skirt.

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Billy Porter is carried into the Met Gala by six shirtless men (Jennifer Graylock/PA)

At this year’s Met Gala, where the theme was camp, he wore a bejewelled gold catsuit, 10-foot wings, a headpiece and boots from Giuseppe Zanotti.

He arrived in a golden litter carried by six shirtless men and described his inspiration on Instagram at the time: “The Category Is: Old Testament Realness.”

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Porter attended Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School and later UCLA, where he earned a certification in screenwriting.

He previously won the Tony for best actor in a musical in 2013 for his turn as Lola in Kinky Boots.

The role also earned him a Drama Desk Award for outstanding actor in a musical and an Outer Critics Award for outstanding actor in a musical.

He also won the 2014 Grammy for best musical theatre album for Kinky Boots.

PA Media

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