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Billy Porter Makes History at 2019 Emmys as First Black, Openly-Gay Man to Win Best Actor in a Drama

Billy Porter poses with award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in the press room during the 71st Emmy Awards 

September 23, 2019 - 11:30 / Sarah Schulz

Billy Porter made history at the 2019 Emmy Awards for being the first black, openly-gay man to win the award for outstanding actor in a drama series. His award was won for his portrayal of "Pray Tell" in FX's Pose

Billy Porter is all about breaking barriers from his red carpet looks to his Emmy wins. Porter is the first openly-gay, black man to be nominated and to win in this "category of love" said the actor. "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," Porter said when accepting the award. 

Billy Porter plays "Pray Tell" in Pose

The Broadway veteran and Tony award winner plays the role of "Pray Tell" in Pose. The character is an outspoken emcee for the New York City house balls which is what the show centers on. The series features the largest transgender and LGBTQ cast of actors in the history of television. 

Billy Porter attends Walt Disney Television Emmy Party on September 22, 2019

"I feel like physical representation are the only things that create change. It's when we are available, that we have the power to create empathy. Through the way we tell stores. I think being black, I know that being black and gay and out, and being in this position," Porter told reporters after his Emmy win. Porter also shared that it's been a long time and a lot of work to get to where he is today. 

Billy Porter Wins Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series

Billy Porter beat out other 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). We are so proud of Billy for continuing to break barriers and achieve great success in doing so. His award is incredibly well-deserved.