Billy Porter’s 2019 Oscars Gown Gave Him Power He Didn’t Know He Had

Last Sunday night, Pose‘s Billy Porter just walked the Golden Globes red carpet in an all white tuxedo with a feathered jacket and train. At the Met Gala, he wore a golden catsuit and major headpiece. But it was Billy Porter’s 2019 Oscars tuxedo gown that gave him power he didn’t know he previously had, said the star in a recent interview with Allure.

When it comes to red carpets, Porter is almost always on the must-see list. In fact, at this year’s Golden Globes, E!’s pre-show correspondents named him their top star to watch because he never disappoints. Perhaps Porter’s biggest moment came in 2019 when he donned a Christian Siriano black velvet gown with a tuxedo top and voluminous skirt. The look ultimately became Google’s top searched red carpet appearance for 2019, but it had a bigger impact on Porter himself, according to his interview with Allure.

Porter is currently the magazine’s February cover star, and he sat down with writer Ashley C. Ford to discuss his iconic moment at the Oscars. In the interview, Porter revealed that his tuxedo gown made him realize just how powerful his fashion can be, and how he plans on continuing to embrace and use it.

Porter reflects specifically on the social media response to the look, particularly as it relates to the criticism that, according to Allure, focused on assigning blame to the actor for the, "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 explains his reaction to the criticism 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 explain that the type of power that moments like his Oscars red carpet appearance have stem from the ability of artists to open minds and call for change in ways that aren’t pushy or moralistic. Those who would chose to point fingers at him and criticize are scared of the impact Porter and other authentic artist 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."

While yes, Porter’s appearances on red carpets are must-see moments because of his style, they’re more than that. The actor uses fashion to make the potential future of an inclusive world visible. That’s part of his power, as is his acting and activism, so when it comes to impacting the world for the better, Porter’s got power in spades — and he’s got it in style.

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