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Billy Porter pays tribute to his late mom at Tony Awards

Actor paid tearful homage
Billy Porter
Billy Porter (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Billy Porter paid a touching tribute to his late mother as he accepted a special prize at the Tony Awards: Act One pre-show.

The 54-year-old Broadway star received the Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award, a non-competitive philanthropic award for those who have helped one more more charitable organisation, and he used his time onstage at the David H. Koch Theater at the Lincoln Center in New York on Sunday, June 16 to honor his late mom, Cloerinda Jean Johnson Porter-Ford, who died in February. She was 79.

“I’d like to dedicate this moment to my mother, Cloerinda Jean Johnson Porter-Ford, who we lost this past February. She believed in unconditional love and she instilled in my sister and I a purpose and a love greater than ourselves,” the teary-eyed actor-and-singer began.

“One of her favorite Bible verses was Second Timothy, 1:7. ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’ Turn to your neighbor and tell him fear not! For the change has already happened. God bless y’all,” he continued.

“With heavy hearts we announce the passing of our loving mother, Cloerinda Jean Johnson Porter-Ford. We were right beside her when she took her last breath, wrapped in our arms. Mommy lived life to the fullest despite physical limitations pressed upon her. She was the personification of true Christianity and her unconditional love is a template that the world could benefit from employing. Her example is what we continue to strive for. We are heartbroken she is no longer here with us, but find solace that her suffering has ended. Her fight was long and hard — she did it with grace and integrity. Mommy will remain forever in our hearts as she continues to guide us from above, as she has done on this Earth. From Labor to Reward,” sharing the news of her passing, a “heartbroken” Porter wrote on Instagram at the time.

In 2017, the “Pose” star told how his mother was “born with a degenerative disability that has only progressed and worsened.”

“That woman has got out of bed every single day of her life and has fought for her life when everybody on the planet said that he shouldn’t even bother. I don’t know how to be anything else when you have an example like that. You can’t be anything else,” he said at the time in an interview for “BUILD Series.”

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