It’s no surprise that the majority of guys who attended this year’s Academy Awards, showed up and showed out wearing their best red-carpet gear. But it was Oscar winner Mahershala Ali and Tony Award winner Billy Porter who gave us some timely historical context.
Before winning the 2019 Best Supporting Actor Award for his role in the Oscar-winning film Green Book, Ali arrived at the ceremony wearing a sleek black tuxedo from Ermenegildo Zegna’s XXX collection. Ali topped off his look with a white mandarin collar shirt, patent leather dress shoes and an elemental hat that Black Twitter raved about.
Two-time Oscar-winning "Green Book" star, Mahershala Ali wears a Malcolm X-inspired ensemble at the 91st Annual Academy Awards. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
With a detailed side-by-side photo comparison of Ali with Black history legend Malcolm X, verified Twitter user Ivie Ani posted, “You know the vibes. Mahershala with the Malcolm X post-Mecca hat. Support.” Thousands of followers agreed and liked the acknowledgment.
you know the vibes pic.twitter.com/7wd7IMYrcg
— Ivie Ani (@ivieani) February 25, 2019
Porter—a 2013 Tony Award winner and 2014 Grammy Award winner—hosted the Oscars’ live-streamed red-carpet arrivals and created his own iconic moment by wearing a custom-made black velvet ‘tuxedo gown,’ designed by Christian Siriano.
Tony Award & Grammy Award-winning "Pose" star, Billy Porter wears a stunning, tuxedo gown at the 91st Annual Academy Awards. (Photo: Getty Images)
Of his ensemble, the Pose star said, “Call me Cinder-fella. When you come to the Oscars, you must dress up. Thanks, Christian Siriano, for creating this custom couture masterpiece.”
Matching Ani’s spirit of enthusiasm, another Twitter user—Villa Cobos—posted a side-by-side photo comparison of Porter and vogueing ballroom scene star Hector Xtravaganza, in a similar pose and outfit. Cobos tweeted that Hector is the House of Xtravaganza’s “Legendary Grandfather” and a “ballroom icon.”
POSE star Billy Porter pays homage to ballroom icon, the Legendary Grandfather Hector Xtravaganza of the House of Xtravaganza, on Academy Awards Red Carpet pic.twitter.com/CoWaPzNZnH
— IMKnOtKRAzEE (@villa_cobos) February 25, 2019
Learning of the cultural context of Porter’s look, former ESSENCE editor Vanessa K. DeLuca tweeted in excitement, “Now I get it!” With another verified user, Blair Imani, gleefully responding to DeLuca, “Because designer Christian Siriano has vision and reverence for queer history.”