Rolling Out

Billy Porter couldn’t be himself due to homophobia

Actor-singer says working on his album healed him
Photo credit: Bang Media

Billy Porter says the music industry has “always” been homophobic.

The singer-actor says it hasn’t always been easy to “just be” who he is as he wouldn’t have been accepted in the earlier days of his career.

“Everybody says ‘just be who you are!’ It’s easy to be who you are when who you are is what’s popular. I’ve always been queer; it’s always been a homophobic business. Period. The end,” Porter told Gay Times magazine.

The “Pose” actor found recording his latest album, Black Mona Lisa to be truly “healing” and he’s very proud of the record.

“Putting together this album after a life’s work has been really healing, inspiring and one of the things I am most proud of in my whole life,” he said.

The singer also revealed that the original idea for the album was to create something that was similar to Beyonce’s Renaissance, which was a homage to dance, disco, house and club culture because of his own background.

“I found a home in the clubs. It was a gay church,” he said. “It was the space we went to on the weekends to have community, love one another and recharge for the rest of the fight. We were fighting for our rights, we were fighting to stay alive. It was the last time pre-AIDS that the world was free.”

And Porter believes disco was unfairly vilified in the 1980s.

“If we think about the sexual and cultural freedom of the 1960s and 1970s, we were on a road to a euphoric society, and then AIDS happened. Disco took the hit. Whether subconsciously or consciously, it was blamed and lumped into that plague era and dismissed unduly,” he said.

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