“I just haven’t been breathing for the past day,” Billy Porter tells Deadline, describing how he felt leading up to this morning’s Primetime Emmy nominations. “So today, I was able to breathe—that was my first reaction!”
Porter has made television history by becoming the first openly gay black man to be nominated for Lead Actor in a Drama. He was nominated for his portrayal of Pray Tell, the sassy master of ceremonies on FX’s Pose. The series also received a nod for Outstanding Drama Series.
“There was no context for this,” he explains. “I said the same thing about marriage equality. When we were growing up, there was no context because you could never see it. I’ve always had huge dreams but I realized now that my dreams have been springboarded off of things I have already seen.”
“They weren’t about dreaming the impossible. They weren’t about dreaming things that didn’t exist. Ryan Murphy, Steven Canals, Brad Falchuk, FX—everybody involved in the show taught me how to dream the impossible,” Porter adds. “The sky is the limit now, honey!”
He also teased what’s in store for Pray Tell for the remainder of Pose’s second season:
“There’s a lot of gag-worthy things. One of which is Pray Tell gets a little bit of a love interest so that’s nice. They’re not cutting our dicks off anymore—they keep gay people neutered very often so Pray Tell is no longer neutered! Which is good for me.”
“I have been in this industry for 30 years and have never been the object of anyone’s affection or love interest,” Porter continues. “I have always been the gay best friend, the clown so it’s really interesting to move this space. It’s very humbling.”
Earlier this year Porter was nominated for a Golden Globe but lost to Bodyguard’s Richard Madden. Hopefully he will be snatching trophies at the Emmys in September—and we can’t wait to see what he’ll be wearing on that red carpet!