Billy Porter brought his singular flair to one of New York’s most iconic landmarks this week to kick off the city’s LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations.
Clad in a patchwork denim suit and platform shoes, the “Pose” actor and singer dropped by the Empire State Building on Thursday to light the historic skyscraper in rainbow colors.
By all accounts, Porter’s appearance was a celebratory affair. Still, his brief remarks alluded to the current rise of anti-LGBTQ legislation in conservative U.S. states, much of it focused on drag performers and the transgender community.
“While we are under attack, the reason is because the change has already happened,” Porter told the crowd, which included representatives from LGBTQ+ advocacy groups The Trevor Project and The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative.
“I’ve lived long enough to know that love always wins. We’re going to be all right. We’ve got to keep fighting. We’ve got to keep pushing. We’ve got to keep being present, and that’s what this is for. Happy Pride and protest.”
After Porter flipped the Empire State Building’s symbolic lighting switch, he was joined by members of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, who performed a rousing rendition of his 2019 single, “Love Yourself.”
Porter’s appearance comes at a prolific time for the entertainer, who in 2019 became the first openly gay Black man to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Last week, he picked up the Excellence in Acting award at the Provincetown International Film Festival in Massachusetts. The honor followed a screening of his latest movie, “Our Son,” co-starring Luke Evans.
And earlier in the spring, he embarked on his first-ever headline tour in support of the forthcoming album “Black Mona Lisa,” due out later this year.
New Yorkers hoping to catch a glimpse of Porter can do so when he serves as one of this year’s grand marshals at the city’s annual Pride March, set to take place Sunday.