Billy Porter Talks about Academy Awards and Social Media Hatred


NEWYORK (AP) – Billy Porter, before stepping on the Oscar red carpet, told Vogue what it was meant for among social media users:

"People are going to be really uncomfortable with my black ass in a ball gown, but it's nobody's business, but mine."

The remark of the performer, actor and singer, winner of Tony, was both presumptuous and refuted. The look of his custom-made velvet tuxedo by Christian Siriano was highly praised and he was outraged by the notion that an African-American man in a dress posed a threat to black masculinity.

It was precisely the conversation that Porter had hoped to provoke, not to arouse virulent hatred, but to advance the idea that we all deserve respect, regardless of race and gender division.

"I was ready to create the conversation," Porter told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday after the Oscars. "We have to teach people to treat us, we need to teach people to love us, we have to teach people to respect us, and the only way to do that is to respect ourselves."

Porter, the black and gay star of the FX series "Pose", has spent the awards season using fashion as a political art, as he describes it. Tom Ford and Michael Kors in the last few weeks, as well as small creators who adopt a greater sexual fluidity in their collections and who have been delighted to dress it up.

As a Golden Globe nominee, Randi Rahm's custom-fitting Porter pants, featuring a huge bright pink-trimmed cloak and floral decorations, garnered attention, but social media support and disdain after the 49-year-old carpet rug fall took the debate into the stratosphere.

Porter understands the origin of established notions of black masculinity and their toxicity. He and his stylist, Sam Ratelle, also realize how sexist taboos can be rigid and want to help walls collapse.

"This goes back to the very first emasculation, which is slavery, so the only way to overcome it is to be the strongest and the most masculine and the most powerful and now, which has become toxic" Porter said. . "And I do not think it's just blacks. I think it's men in general. Each ethnic group has its version.

Porter made fun of negative comments.

"The comments do not concern me. What people think about what I'm doing does not concern me. I've already experienced that, "he said. "I am in my authenticity and the bottom line is that you must respect me as much as I respect you. If you do not like it, go elsewhere. You do not have to watch. It's not about you. I do not understand why putting on a dress causes so many conflicts in your life. "

Ratelle said that he had started working with Porter about a year ago.

"He said, 'I want to be a street art,' and we started from there," said Ratelle. "It was really great to work with a group of great designers. Randi Rahm was certainly completely open. Issey Miyake was fantastic for the Radio City show (Porter was a white study). Christian Siriano, the fact that he put this custom-made evening dress in a week, was incredible after saying, "Absolutely. No doubt we will do that. Michael Kors was the most human of men. Tom Ford too.

Porter said he was just beginning to move the conversation forward.

"People really listen," he said. "I hope this opens a healing dialogue. I will always continue to do to myself. If I have learned anything in the last 49 years that I have lived on this planet, it is that being authentic is the only version of history that anyone should be. "

Porter has always been a fashion lover. This year, he was ambassador for the US Fashion Designers Council at the Men's Fashion Week in New York and attended a variety of shows featuring a variety of looks, from traditional to fluid.

Now that the awards season is over and the fashion week cycle ends in Paris, Porter has stated that he would continue to wear what he would like, with a large number of designers to his service to help them pull the lines of their outfits and custom clothing.

"Before the Golden Globes, it was difficult," he said of the options available to him, considering that the size of his sample was not satisfactory. "After the Golden Globes, it was not difficult. You work with the people who work with you. You go through the open doors. I am never a beggar. "

In real life, or at least live television during the Oscars, Helen Mirren seemed ready to change, noting that she and her co-presenter, Jason Momoa, were dressed in pink.

"This is irrefutable proof that nowadays a Hawaiian god and a very mature English woman can wear the same color. We can both wear pink, "she said.

Momoa agreed, "Finally. The times are changing ".

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