Billy Porter Talks Life, Work and the Lunch That Changed His Life with Tamron Hall [Video]

Actor extraordinaire Billy Porter sat down with Tamron Hall, for his first interview since revealing he’s HIV-positive in the Hollywood Reporter.

via: Broadway World

During the interview Billy Porter spoke about how he feels about being a role model for artists like Lil Nas X and everyone in the LGBTQI community, Billy responded, “I never had an example of who I was in the mainstream reflected back at me ever. It’s been intentional for me. The moment I decided to love myself enough… You have to love yourself enough. Maya Angelou says ‘We teach people how to treat us.’ so I had to teach the world how to treat me. But I needed to treat myself right first. I needed to figure out how to love myself right first in the face of rejection for simply being who I am.”

Billy also detailed how lunch with Ryan Murphy changed his perspective on both his life and his career, saying “We had been working for the first season [of POSE] and he called me to lunch and he essentially called me out because he said ‘Okay look, I want you to lean into the joy’ and I took a breath and he said ‘I know what it’s been. I know how hard you’ve worked. I know it’s hard to trust where you are now. But I need you to know that you’re here, I got your back, and you don’t ever have to worry about anything again.’ For a person that spent 13 years not working, a bankruptcy…it just took my breath away. You just need just one person in a position of power to open the door. I wasn’t asking anybody to give me anything for free… It’s about the opportunity.”

amron also spoke with the culture icon about why he had to wait until age 50 to find success and why societal norms about being more masculine were a deterrent when it came to his acting career: “I spent the majority of my life in the masculinity race. Trying to be masculine enough to get a gig. It’s all about masculinity, especially for a black man. If you’re not masculine enough, you’re dismissed. You can’t get work. You don’t get jobs, you don’t get work. It was a real thing for me my whole life, it wasn’t just the business. I was just trying to be masculine enough to get the gig and then when I was about forty, I said I’m going to take myself out of this race.”

Billy also spoke to the power and importance of being an artist who inspires change, saying, “None of us are free until we’re all free. The space that we’re in, where we are seemingly so divided, is actually historically the moment that the people come together more than ever because we have to and because we’re required to. Otherwise, the whole thing will implode. Creatively, we have always been at the forefront, as creatives, as architects of change. This is an example of that… We get to change the molecular structure of what’s inside someone’s heart. That’s what creates change for good. That’s what we need. Change that sticks, change for good.”

The following are highlights for Tamron Hall for the Friday, January 31: Run DMC’s iconic rapper Rev Run and his wife of 27 years Justine share their secrets to lasting love. Plus: doctors and patients from the hit medical show, “My Feet are Killing Me,” as well as our fascination with TV shows that make us cringe.

Seeing Billy live in his truth is a beautiful thing.

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