Pose star Billy Porter, 49, wore a custom velvet tuxedo gown designed by Christian Siriano to the 91st Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday. The Tony Award winner spoke to Vogue about his queer identity and his choice to play up masculinity and femininity with the daring fashion choice on Hollywood’s biggest night.
“I’ve always been inspired by fashion. My grandmother, my mom—they were always stylish. I grew up loving fashion, but there was a limit to the ways in which I could express myself,” Porter told the style publication.
“When you’re black and you’re gay, one’s masculinity is in question. I dealt with a lot of homophobia in relation to my clothing choices…I was silent for a long time. I was trying to fit
Porter went on to explain how Hollywood claims to be progressive still expects people to fit into specific labels.
“This industry masquerades itself as inclusive, but actors are afraid to play, because if they show up as something outside of the status quo, they might be received as feminine, and, as a result, they won’t get that masculine job, that superhero job,” he added. “And that’s the truth. I’ve been confronted with that.”
The star revealed that he and Siriano came up with the gown idea after he was offered the pre-show hosting gig. The pair was adamant about presenting him as a man in a dress because Porter isn’t a drag queen. The tux and dress combo was the perfect pairing.
The outfit choice was a lesson to teach others to respect other people’s “truths” even if you don’t always agree with them.
“People are going to be really uncomfortable with my black ass in a ball gown—but it’s not anybody’s business but mine,” Porter said in conclusion.
Pose was renewed for Season Two in July 2018.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.