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Billy Porter's powerful Emmys acceptance speech was a rallying cry for equality

Billy Porter gave a memorable speech when he picked up the Emmy for lead actor in a drama series.

Image: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

We already know Billy Porter can make an entrance, but did you know he can give a pretty spectacular speech, too?

At the 2019 Emmys on Sunday, the Pose star picked up the award for lead actor in a drama series — becoming the first openly gay black man to do so.

“The category is love, y’all, love,” said Porter, collecting the award. “I am so overwhelmed and I am so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day.”

The award-winning actor then reflected on the words of great American novelist, essayist, orator, and civil rights activist James Baldwin in one of the most powerful moments of the ceremony.

“James Baldwin said, ‘Took many years of vomiting up all the filth that I had been taught about myself and halfway believed, before I could walk around this earth like I had the right to be here.’


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“I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right.”

After thanking a number of people, Porter closed the speech by emphasising the importance of art.

“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,” Porter said. “Please don’t ever stop doing that. Please don’t ever stop telling the truth. I love y’all.”

It was one of the best moments of the Emmys, hands down. Want to catch up on the full list of winners? Right this way.