Actor-recording artist Billy Porter
covers the July/August 2020 cover of Essence magazine.
Porter, 50, is best known for playing
Pray Tell in the FX drama Pose. He won a Tony for his
portrayal of Lola in the Broadway production of Kinky Boots.
Porter has released four studio albums.
In tweeting the cover, Essence
editors wrote: “At every stage of his 30-year career,
@TheeBillyPorter has challenged norms. Today is no different. Billy
is encouraging discussions that bring about a reckoning – from
protests to the murders of trans women.”
Porter, the first gay man to cover the
magazine, told Essence that his masculinity has been in
question “from the moment I could comprehend thought.”
“I was never masculine enough by
society's standards to walk the Earth,” he said. “It took years
of me vomiting up the filth that I was told about myself, and halfway
believed, before I could walk around on this Earth like I deserve to
“But the filth was not only coming
from White people. The filth was coming from my own,” he added.
Porter also called on the Black
community to be more accepting of people who identify as LGBT.
“Our trans women are out here dying
at the hands of our own,” he
“You want the police to stop being
brutal. Okay. Yeah, I'm with you, but this f-got over here that you
all love to f-k with, I'm Black first.”
“LGBTQ+ Black people are Black people
first and we need to be supported and honored too,” Porter said.