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Review Roundup: Billy Porter Releases Debut Autobiography, UNPROTECTED

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The book has already hit #1 on the Amazon charts for the Rap & Hip-Hop Musician Biographies and R&B & Soul Artist Biographies, and #3 in LGBTQ+ Biographies.

Review Roundup: Billy Porter Releases Debut Autobiography, UNPROTECTED

Yesterday, Tony and Emmy winner Billy Porter released his new autobiography, Unprotected. As BroadwayWorld previously reported, Porter's debut book is already a best seller, hitting #1 on the Amazon charts for the Rap & Hip-Hop Musician Biographies and R&B & Soul Artist Biographies, as well as hitting #3 in LGBTQ+ Biographies (Books).

Billy Porter's Unprotected is the life story of a singular artist and survivor in his own words. It is the story of a boy whose talent and courage opened doors for him, but only a crack. It is the story of a teenager discovering himself, learning his voice and his craft amidst deep trauma. And it is the story of a young man whose unbreakable determination led him through countless hard times to where he is now; a proud icon who refuses to back down or hide. Porter is a multitalented, multifaceted treasure at the top of his game, and Unprotected is a resonant, inspirational story of trauma and healing, shot through with his singular voice.

Purchase the book here.

Read all of the reviews below!


R. Eric Thomas, The New York Times: This is not just a memoir, saints; this is a testimony. He is telling a story and he is spilling the tea and he is working through deep wounds in pursuit of a clearer path to a full experience of personhood. "Here I am all these decades later, at the height of my life and career - covered in alla my personal trauma," he says early in the book. Some stories one wishes Porter would linger on. His marriage and recent career successes, for instance, rush by in a blur of boldfaced names and viral moments. But in "Unprotected," Porter is reaching for a loftier objective than just delivering a happily ever after. "My art is my calling, my purpose, dare I say my ministry," he writes.

Thomas Floyd, The Washington Post: Porter is also refreshingly candid on the allure of fame and industry accolades. While he does offer behind-the-scenes insights into his most recognized roles, as Lola in Broadway's "Kinky Boots" and Pray Tell in the FX series "Pose," detours about characters he nearly played onstage but didn't - namely, the Witch in "Into the Woods" and Hedwig in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" - prove just as juicy.

Joshua Axelrod, Post-Gazette: This is the kind of memoir that has no desire to sway how you feel about its author. If you weren't a big Porter fan before "Unprotected," this memoir won't change your mind. However, those who enjoy his work and want to learn more about his story will come away with a deeper understanding of how, as Porter puts it, "my life is a testimony to the power that art has to heal trauma."

Jonathan Mandell, New York Theater: I would have preferred more passages like the ones appreciating Bob Fosse and Jennifer Holliday. I suspect that many of those who savor Porter primarily for his boundary-pushing, over-the-top star turn at every fashion event over the last few years, would prefer more than his few pages near the end of the book about his devotion to fashion. It also might have been nice to have fewer rambling, often pontificating diary-like entries, especially the repetitive diatribes excoriating the demagogue Porter repeatedly calls "Orangina 45." But one of the great pleasures of "Unprotected" is that, whatever he happens to be writing about, Billy Porter is unmistakably his own emphatic self. His voice is eerily familiar, already embedded in memory.

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