Ahead of the first awards show in 2020, Golden Globes nominee Billy Porter is pushing back against critics who asked why is he getting recognition over his transgender costars from his hit series, Pose.

The actor is nominated for Best Actor in a Drama TV Series for his turn as Pray Tell, an emcee, in the FX series that focuses on 1980s and 1990s ballroom and vogue culture in New York City. Porter was the only actor to receive solo recognition from the series at the Globes.

When the nods were announced late last year, critics on social media were quick to point out that Porter, the rare cisgender actor in the series, was recognized above the series’ trans actors. In fact, Pose made history when it premiered in 2018 for casting the most-ever trans actors in a TV series.

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Porter, whom ESSENCE spoke to while he was busy promoting his latest film, Like A Boss, told those critics to have “patience,” pointing to his costar and trans actress Mj Rodriguez being nominated for a 2020 Critic’s Choice Awards. (Porter also received a solo nod.)

“Can we get the story out?” he asks rhetorically. “Can we be grateful that it even exists?”

“I find that so many people want to lean into the negative. It’s on the air! The story is being told,” Porter continues. “We got a third season. We get to build.”

Porter also said that his being cisgender isn’t why he’s being recognized during awards season. It’s because he’s put in decades of work in Hollywood, from the stage to the big screen.

“I’ve been in the business for 30 years. That’s why I’m getting the attention. It just happens like that,” the former Kinky Boots star notes. “Patience, babies! I’m 50 years old. This is just happening for me.”

Like A Boss, also starring Tiffany Haddish, hits theaters January 10.


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