Billy Porter Talks Masculinity, Authenticity, & Fame + How He's Using His Platform To 'Speak Truth To Power' w/Heather B. Live
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Billy Porter Talks Masculinity, Authenticity, & Fame + How He’s Using His Platform To ‘Speak Truth To Power’ w/Heather B. Live

Award-winning actor and singer, Billy Porter called into SiriusXM’s Urban View show “Heather B. Live” to talk to host Heather B. Gardner about dealing with masculinity, the moment he discovered his authentic self, and his latest music video cover of Stephen Stills and Buffalo Springfield’sFor What It’s Worth’ which he hopes pushes people to the polls in November.

During the interview, Billy Porter told Heather B. how he hopes in this election year to bring back the idea of protest music:

I grew up, I’m first generation post-civil rights movement and I also grew up during the AIDS crisis. Activism is in my DNA. It always has been. And there was a time when musical artists in particular, there was this thing called protest music, in the sixties and seventies where artists really used their platform to speak truth to power. I’m an artist, this is how I do it. I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a community organizer. I’m not a politician. I’m not any of those things, but I’m an artist. And this is how I speak. This is the platform that I have, and I wanted to use this moment in this election year to bring back the idea of protest music. I’m not afraid to lose my audience. I’m actually building my coalition and my supporters right now. This is who I am. This is what it is. Come on board or not… it’s time to show up and it’s time to fight. Period. Our democracy is at stake and it’s time.”

Billy Porter also spoke about dealing with his masculinity, and discovering his authentic self:

It was the liberation moment because I had spent so much time in my life, in that masculinity conversation that is so prevalent in our culture. I was not masculine enough from the age of five..I understood there was a problem, I understood I needed to be fixed, when my family sent me to a psychologist because I was too much of a sissy. So, for 40 years of my life, I spent most of it trying to be masculine enough to get a job, to be seen, to vibrate in the circles that I wanted to vibrate in…I just finally just took myself out of it…I am more important than any fame or career or anything. My sanity is more important than any of that, so I’m going to call on that and I’m just going to be who I am and I’m going to let the chips fall where they may… that has been such a wonderful part of this journey is to get to the other side of authenticity, to choose my own authenticity..

Billy Porter on covering “For What It’s Worth“:

Heather. B. Gardner: What made you do this remake, this classic? What made you do it?

Billy Porter: Well, you know, I grew up, I’m first generation post-civil rights movement and I also grew up during the AIDS crisis, I came out during the AIDS crisis. Activism is in my DNA. It always has been. And there was a time when musical artists in particular, there was this thing called protest music, in the sixties and seventies where artists really used their platform to speak truth to power. I’m an artist, this is how I do it. I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a community organizer. I’m not a politician. I’m not any of those things, but I’m an artist. And this is how I speak. This is the platform that I have, and I wanted to use this moment in this election year to bring back the idea of protest music. I’m not afraid to lose my audience. I’m actually building my coalition and my supporters right now. This is who I am. This is what it is. Come on board or not. It’s all good. But it’s time to show up and it’s time to fight. Period. Our democracy is at stake and it’s time.

Billy Porter on masculinity, authenticity, & fame:

Heather B. Gardner: I just decided to be my authentic self. What was that moment like for you and how liberating was that?

Billy Porter: Well, it was the most liberating. It was the liberation moment because I had spent so much time in my life, in that masculinity conversation that is so prevalent in our culture. I was not masculine enough from the age of five. I understood this. I understood there was a problem, I understood I needed to be fixed, when my family sent me to a psychologist because I was too much of a sissy. So, for 40 years of my life, I spent most of it trying to be masculine enough to get a job, to be seen, to vibrate in the circles that I wanted to vibrate in. It was always about how masculine are you and we can snip it out if you’re not, and we’ll call that out and embarrass that. And it’s like, I mean, I just finally just took myself out of it. I was like, I can’t hold onto my sanity and worry about this simultaneously, so I’m going to let one of them go. I am more important than any fame or career or anything. My sanity is more important than any of that, so I’m going to call on that and I’m just going to be who I am and I’m going to let the chips fall where they may. And the Interesting part about it because I always talk about, you know, Oh, just be who you are, and that’s sort of the message that we receive, but it’s easy to be who you are when what you are is what’s popular, because the minute that you’re not the thing that everybody desires you to be, there’s a lot of push back. So, that has been such a wonderful part of this journey is to get to the other side of authenticity, to choose my own authenticity and then to have it resonate in this way in the mainstream, my mind is blown.