Billy Porter Makes History and Wins Best Actor in a Drama at 2019 Emmys

Porter is the first openly gay African-American man to be nominated or to win in his category

By Lauren Piester Sep 23, 2019 2:53 AMTags
Pose Season 2FX

The category is love, y'all! 

Billy Porter just won his first Emmy, after his first nomination, for his role as Pray Tell in FX's Pose, and naturally he gave a beautiful, inspirational speech that proved that this is Billy Porter's world and we all get to live in it, as if you could not tell by his hat. He also made history as the first openly gay African-American man to be nominated or win in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category. 

After calming down a bit (naturally), Porter quoted James Baldwin: "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. I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right!" he said. 

Emmys 2019: Red Carpet Fashion

Porter paid tribute to his mother, to the Actors Fund Nursing Home, to his sister, to all the people at FX, to his husband Adam Porter Smith, to his manager, to the Pose cast, and of course to executive producer Ryan Murphy. 

"You saw me, you believed in us. Thank you, thank you, thank you," he said, before ending his speech with a bit of serious inspiration and love. 

"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 ever stop telling the truth. I love you all. They're telling me to please stop. God bless you. If I forgot anybody, I'm sorry. I love you all." 

This was Porter's first nomination ever, and the show earned six nominations this year. Porter's is the first award the FX drama has won so far. 

Watch E! News tonight at 7 p.m. for a recap of the biggest moments from the 2019 Emmy Awards!