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Man Crush Monday: POSE’s Billy Porter

If you’re not watching Pose on FX this summer then you’re missing out. Ryan Murphy and team have done it again with their recent foray into the world of the balls in New York in the late 80s. The stories center on two, soon to be three, houses who fiercely compete in the balls for trophies and bragging rights. Outside of their glamorous runway lives, they struggle with real-world problems in the gay and trans community during the peak of the AIDS epidemic.

And my man, Billy Porter, is their grandfather. (Ok, that hurt a little because Billy is my age in real life.)

I have loved Billy’s character Pray Tell all season long. As the elder statesman, Pray Tell has been through and seen too much sadness in his life, watching countless lovers and friends die from AIDS. He was elevated to MCM status during the sixth episode, “Love is the Message”, when I heard his voice. Ok, that’s a lie, I fell in love with his voice during the opening credits of the first episode, and then I fell in love with his sass as emcee extraordinaire for the balls. But during “Love is the Message”, Pray Tell’s heartbreaking rendition of Donny Hathaway’s “For All We Know” followed by a duet with MJ Rodriguez of “Home” (yes, from The Wiz) was more than my heart could take. All season long Billy has breathed a sadness and a knowing into Pray Tell that can only come from a place of experience and love. Emmy voters, I hope you’re watching!

Porter grew up in a religious home and knew at a young age that he would be on his own after coming out. Like many of the characters on Pose, Billy was pushed out of his family home at 15 and lost his first friend to AIDS at 18. Because of his talent, he eventually landed a scholarship to study at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and ended up on Broadway. Before coming to Pose, Billy was a Tony, Drama Desk and Outercritics Circle award-winning star on Broadway as Lola in Kinky Boots. He’s got television and film credits, has had a career as a solo recording artist and his theater credits are as long as the waitlist at The Cheesecake Factory on Mother’s Day.

We’ll just have to love Billy for his immense talent, his gorgeous voice and his dedication to teaching and mentoring the youth of the world because Billy married his partner Adam Smith in January of 2017 in what I can only imagine was a fabulously stylish ceremony (apparently planned in 10 days).

Cheers to Billy and Adam and Pray Tell and Pose!

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