Do not come for Pray Tell. Any fan of Pose will tell you that much. Do not come for Billy Porter, the actor who plays Pray Tell, either — he prefers to keep things positive. After cameras seemingly caught him giving what some fans thought was side-eye, Billy Porter shut down claims he shaded RuPaul's Emmy win during the 2019 Emmy Awards, E! News reported.
The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards went down on Sunday, Sept. 22, and it ended up being a pretty historic evening for black male performers. Among those making history were Porter, who took home the trophy for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Pray Tell on Pose, and RuPaul, who scored a win in the Outstanding Reality Competition Program category for RuPaul's Drag Race.
Porter was in the audience while Ru was giving his acceptance speech, and at one point, the camera paused on the Pose star's face. Now, he wasn't exactly beaming, but he wasn't full-on sneering, either. There's no way to know what was actually going through Porter's mind at that time, but several fans on Twitter suggested that he was giving RuPaul side-eye.
As it turns out, though, that definitely wasn't the case. And Porter made that more than abundantly clear while speaking to the press following his own Emmy win.
When a reporter in the press room briefed the actor on what a few of his Twitter fans had been assuming, Porter didn't hesitate to shut it down. "There is never a side-eye coming from me," he announced. "Let me make this clear right now in this room to everybody, right now, there's never a side-eye coming from me. There's never anything negative coming from me. You're never gonna get it from me. OK?"
He then went on to explain, "It's all love, it's all light, it's all positivity," and added, "Don't come to me with that mess. Don't. It's never that ever, ever, ever."
Porter didn't stop there, though. He continued, saying, "They can catch you and it could look like a side-eye," but, he added, he and RuPaul are actually friends. "I am so proud of him," the star admitted. "I stand on his shoulder. I stand on his shoulders. He is doing it. He paved the way for me. So there is never a side-eye about that."
Porter's Emmy win was the first time in history that an openly black gay man won the award for Lead Actor in a Drama Series. RuPaul is an openly gay black man as well, so it makes sense that he and Porter would celebrate each other's successes. In fact, Porter went out of his way to preach the importance of diverse on-screen representation in his own Emmys acceptance speech.
"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," he told the audience. "Please don't ever stop doing that. Please don't ever stop telling the truth. I love you all."
So, there you have it. Case closed. Porter was not shading RuPaul. And as he said himself, "The category is love, y'all."