Billy Porter's 2019 Oscars Tuxedo Gown Gave Him Power He Didn't Know He Had
On Sunday night, Pose's Billy Porter walked the Golden Globes red carpet in an all-white tuxedo with a feathered jacket and train. At the Met Gala a few months earlier, he wore a gold catsuit and major headpiece. But it was Porter's 2019 Oscars tuxedo gown that had the biggest impact on himself, the star said in a recent interview with Allure.
Porter, the magazine's February cover star, sat down with writer Ashley C. Ford to discuss that iconic Oscars moment and revealed that the response to his Christian Siriano black velvet tuxedo gown — Google's top-searched red-carpet appearance of 2019 — made him realize just how powerful his fashion can be.
Porter also touched on how he plans to continue to use that power and reflected on the comments the look got on social media — in particular, the ones referring to him as "the singular cause of emasculation among black cishet men." Porter took the criticism and flipped it, instead embracing the power people were assigning to him and running with it.
In the piece, Porter explained his reaction, saying, "I said, 'First of all if your masculinity is that weak, it should be attacked. Secondly, I didn't know I had that much power. But now that I do, you can expect I'll be wielding it every f*cking chance I get. Every chance. It's a calling, it's a ministry, it's intentional. I know exactly what I'm here for. And that is power.'"
Porter goes on to say that powerful moments, like the Oscars red-carpet appearance, stem from the potential for artists to open minds and call for change in ways that aren't pushy or moralistic. Those who choose to point fingers at him and criticize are scared of the impact Porter and other authentic artists like himself could have on the world.
"I'm a part of the first generation of gay men, ever, who gets to be out loud and proud in the world," he tells Allure. "My generation is the first. B*tches are scared. And they should be."
So while yes, Porter's appearances on red carpets are must-see moments thanks to his fashion, they're more than that — they also show the potential for a more inclusive world. That's part of his power, as is his acting and activism, and when it comes to changing the world for the better, Porter's got style in spades.