Billy Porter said he is grateful to have “lived long enough to see the day where my queerness is no longer my liability, but now is my greatest superpower”.
The actor and singer, known for his role in award-winning television series Pose, said he was proud to be a modern representation of “what being black, queer and HIV-positive looks like”, as he was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a ceremony coinciding with World Aids Day.
Known for his bold style and outfit choices, Porter did not disappoint, appearing at the Los Angeles ceremony in a long white dress with large, puffed shoulders.
He starred in three seasons of Pose, playing the emcee Pray Tell, which earned him three Golden Globe nominations.
In 2019 he won the Primetime Emmy award for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for the role, becoming the first gay black man to be nominated and win in any lead acting category.
He was joined on the Walk of Fame by his manager Bill Butler and sister Mary Martha Ford, who both hailed Porter’s talent and described him as “everybody’s best friend”.
“Grandma would tell you ‘many people are willing, not all are able’,” Ford told her brother.
In his own emotional acceptance speech, Porter told fans: “My dreams have always been too big to be contained”.
“I’ve heard a lot of things in my life: ‘you’re too black, you’re too gay, too loud, too extra, too flamboyant, homosexuality is an abomination, you are an abomination, you will never be blessed’,” he said.
“Well we know that’s a lie, that theory no longer has any credibility.
“’Try being quieter, try fitting in, butch it up, dim your light, stop making everyone feel so uncomfortable’ – I tried doing all of those things, I really tried hard but thank God I couldn’t.”
Porter said his life was forever changed with his introduction to theatre, saying that he had “found the place where I felt seen… the place I could breathe”.
He said that “gratitude” was a theme that kept returning to him when writing his acceptance remarks.
“I’m grateful for my allies, I’m far more grateful for my haters. I’m grateful for my successes and I’m far more grateful for my perceived failures,” he said.
“And in honour of this World Aids Day, I’m grateful to stand in front of the world as an out, loud and proud representation of what being black, queer and HIV-positive looks like in 2022.
“I’m grateful to have lived long enough to see the day where my queerness is no longer my liability but now is my greatest superpower.”
“I’m grateful that the universe has imbued me with the courage to dare to be audacious enough to stand firmly in my own humanity no matter how under attack it is now and has always been and love myself enough to teach the whole wide world what unconditional love looks like.”
Porter dedicated the moment to his mother, who was not able to attend the ceremony due to mobility issues, praising her willingness to “embrace that which you do not understand with unconditional love”.
“I know you’re watching, I love you more than words can say.”
As well as his Emmy, Porter has won Tony and Grammy awards, making him just an Oscar shy of the coveted EGOT status – bestowed upon those who win the big four entertainment awards for TV, theatre, music and film.
His first Tony for best actor in a musical came in 2013 for his role as Lola in Kinky Boots, and he won again in 2022 for his producing role on best musical A Strange Loop.
Porter’s star is the the 2,741st on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was awarded in the category of live performance/live theatre.
It is located at 6201 Hollywood Boulevard.