Billy Porter is feeling “overwhelmed” after scooping the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series prize at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night (September 22, 2019).
The star took home the award for his role as Pray Tell in FX’s hit series Pose – after becoming the first openly gay African American actor to be nominated in the category.
After it was announced the star had won the award, he took the opportunity to honor the show for giving representation to the LGBTQ community.
“I am so overwhelmed and I am so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day,” he confessed, after dancing up to the stage to receive the accolade. “We, as artists, are the people who 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.”
Set in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the series showcases New York City’s African American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming ballroom culture scene, in which performers compete for trophies and recognition, and who support one another in a network of chosen families known as Houses.
Speaking backstage after collecting his prize, the actor gushed that he’s “grateful” to be a part of the show, and act as a figurehead for the queer community.
“You know, I’m so grateful to live long enough to see the day where a queer black man can stand up in front of the world and say, ‘I’m here. I’m not going nowhere. So get used to it’,” he told Entertainment Tonight.