Joe Biden took to Twitter to praise actor Billy Porter for becoming the first openly gay black actor to win an Emmy in a drama series.
Billy Porter, who made history merely by being nominated for his role as the exuberant ballroom emcee Pray Tell in FX’s Pose, a show that explores the “juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the rise of the luxury universe, the downtown social and literary scene and the ball culture world.”
In his acceptance speech, Porter said that he was “overjoyed” to win the award and believe that as a gay man he has the “right to be here”:
The category is love, you all. Love. I am so overwhelmed and I am so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day. 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.” I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right.
Porter’s success was quickly seized upon by Biden, who claimed that he had inspired a young generation of actors.
“Tonight, you made history, @theebillyporter. And as you did it, you reminded us that there is so much more that unites us than divides us,” Biden wrote. “You blazed a trail that will mean so much to so many young people who can now imagine themselves standing on that stage because of you.”
Tonight, you made history, @theebillyporter. And as you did it, you reminded us that there is so much more that unites us than divides us. You blazed a trail that will mean so much to so many young people who can now imagine themselves standing on that stage because of you.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 23, 2019
Porter’s acting has been the source of widespread acclaim from critics following the show’s launch last year, in which his flamboyant character Pray Tell is diagnosed with HIV.
The 50-year-old actor is also known for his flamboyance in real life. At this year’s Oscars, Porter turned up on the red carpet wearing custom tuxedo dress as a tribute to Hector Xtravaganza, who passed away last year, from the House of Xtravaganza, known as one of New York City’s most famous underground ballroom houses.