• Wed. Jun 16th, 2021

Billy Porter And Lee Daniels Are Trailblazers For Young Black, Gay Men In Hollywood

June is Pride Month, a time of celebration for members of the LGBTQ community. It commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising.

Pride is about promoting equality and increasing the visibility of LGBTQ people. Several Black men in entertainment are representations of what Pride means. But for this feature’s purpose, we are talking about two figures in Hollywood who are using their platform and influence to contribute to the overall advancement of the LGBTQ community.

RoyalTee Magazine highlights two Black male entertainers who are doing just that. These Royal Men are the epitome of Pride. They unapologetically represent what Pride is all about by using their platforms to express themselves, increase visibility and speak out about the issues that impact the LGBTQ community.

Billy Porter

Billy Porter is an actor, singer, fashion icon, and an openly gay, Black man. He is widely known for his role as Pray Tell in the television series Pose. Porter, 51, embodies the values of pride through his fashion choices and by speaking out about issues that impact many LGBTQ people.

His style, considered controversial, plays on both masculine and feminine energy. This was shown in 2019 on the red carpet at the Oscars when Porter stepped out in a custom outfit that featured a fitted tuxedo jacket over an extravagant velvet gown.

Porter has also spoken out about his personal struggles with HIV, which is something that impacts many members of the LGBTQ community, especially Black men. According to the CDC, in 2018, 69% of the new cases of HIV were among gay and bisexual men. And 37% of that group was Black males. 

Porter, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2007, recently shared his status in an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

“I survived so that I could tell the story,” said Porter. “That’s what I’m here for.” 

By telling his story, Porter will possibly encourage those younger to be more open and educated about HIV.

Watch Porter on Pose. The third and final season is playing now on FX.

Photo Credit: The Queer Review

Lee Daniels

Producer and director, Lee Daniels is known for breakout projects like Precious and Lee Daniels’ The Butler. He is the first African-American to be nominated for Oscars in Best Director and Best Picture. Plus, he is also an openly gay male who uses his position in the film industry to increase the visibility of LGBTQ people.

Daniels, 61, increased the visibility of LGBTQ people with shows like Empire in which he cast Black gay actor, Jussie Smollett, to portray Jamal Lyon, who was an R&B singer and songwriter. Daniels also cast an openly transgender actor, Amiyah Scott, in the show Star.

His recent film, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, starring Audra Day, won a Golden Globe for Best Actress. Daniels, like Porter, has also spoken out about some of his personal struggles as a member of the LGBTQ community. In an interview, he shared with The Hollywood Reporter about his father’s lack of acceptance. 

“I walked down the stairs with high heels on, and he put me in the trash can,” Daniels said in the March 2017 interview when recalling an event from his childhood. 

Recently, Daniels expressed interest in creating a gay, superhero movie. 

“I really want to do a gay superhero movie,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a February 2021 interview. “I want the guy and guy to walk off happy at the end.” 

He added, “I want it to end beautifully. Some of the major Hollywood gay love stories that have come out end tragically.”

Lee Daniels with Audra Day on the set of 'The United States vs. Billie Holiday'
Photo Credit: Instagram


Daniel J. Newton

Daniel J. Newton is a senior journalism student at Florida A&M University originally from Tampa, Florida. He has bylines in publications such as The Famuan, Journey Magazine and The Tallahassee Democrat.