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Billy Porter’s Emmys’ speech: ‘We all have the right to be here’

Billy Porter's acceptance speech at the Emmys was memorable as he quoted author James Baldwin. Pic credit: FOX
Billy Porter’s acceptance speech at the Emmys was memorable as he quoted author James Baldwin. Pic credit: FOX

Talented actor Billy Porter turned heads with his dramatic hat and outfit last night, but he also made history at the 2019 Emmys.

The star of the FX drama Pose, created by executive producer Ryan Murphy, became the first openly gay person of color to win an Emmy award for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Pray Tell.

Read our exclusive interview with Billy Porter here!

In an emotionally charged speech, Porter thanked his mentors in life and his loves. “The category is love, y’all!” I am so overwhelmed and I am so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day!”  He also quoted American author James Baldwin in his opening remarks.

The actor’s historic win was just a day after he turned 50 years old.

Billy Porter plays Pray Tell in FX series Pose, a drama that shows the lives of the LatinX and African American LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City.

But his speech is what people are talking about today.

“It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and halfway believed before I could walk around this Earth like I had a right to be here,” Porter said, quoting James Baldwin.

“I have the right,” Porter continued. “You have the right. We all have the right.”

Billy Porter’s full Emmys speech

“Oh my God, God Bless you all. The category is love Y’all, love! I am so overwhelmed and I am so overjoyed that I have lived long enough to see this day.

James Baldwin said [it] took many years of vomiting up all the filth that I had been taught about myself and halfway believe before I could walk around this earth like I had the right to be here. I have the right… you have the right… we all have the right!

There were so many people who helped me get here along the way, so I’m just going to say thank you.
Thank you first of all to the other exquisitely talented men in my category. I love you all so much. It’s such an honor to be up here breathing the same air that you all breath. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

My momma Cloerinda, there is no stronger, more resilient woman who has graced this Earth. I love you, Mommy. Much love to the actors … my sister… my husband, Adam Porter-Smith, Suzy, Bill Butler, my manager of 29 years. Twenty-nine years! You helped me believe in myself when I couldn’t believe.

[And] All the people at FX… Alexa Fogel… my Pose cast. Ryan Murphy. Ryan Murphy. Ryan Murphy. You saw me. You believed in us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Oh, my goodness… 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 stop ever telling the truth. I love you all. They’re telling me to please stop. God bless you. God bless you.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2qO9UdA6WA

What people are saying on Twitter:

Who is Billy married to?

Billy Porter is married to Adam Smith, who is one of the owners of a luxury eyewear company Native Ken based in New York City. People magazine described the relationship in detail and how he was “the one that got away” and was later reunited with Porter, who married him.

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