VIDEO: Billy Porter on His Struggles Growing Up, Career Triumphs, and More on CBS SUNDAY MORNING

Porter talks about a childhood filled with years of rejection, doubt and abuse – and about how he survived and triumphed.

By: Oct. 10, 2021
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This morning, CBS Sunday Morning aired a segment on actor-dancer-singer-director and Broadway veteran Billy Porter. In the interview, Porter talks with correspondent Seth Doane about a childhood filled with years of rejection, doubt and abuse - and about how he survived and triumphed.

Porter talked about his struggles growing up being bullied, until people found out he could sing during the fifth grade talent show.

"And then, all of a sudden it was like, 'Oh, well, you know, leave him alone - he can sing!'," he said. "That was my cue. I was like, 'Oh, shoot, well, let me sing! Let me keep singing so I can stop getting beat!"

He then went on to discuss how his career validated his identity even further, and made him feel comfortable to be himself.

"After having been told that my queerness and my femininity would be my liability, 'Kinky Boots' happened," he said. "I never felt more powerful and more grounded in my life up until that point, as Lola, in high-heeled platform boots!"

Watch the full segment below!

Billy Porter (Director) is a Tony and Grammy Award-winning, and Golden Globe-nominated, actor, singer, director, composer, and playwright from Pittsburgh, PA. His electric portrayal of Pray Tell in FX's breakthrough series "Pose," earned him a Golden Globe nomination and a Critics' Choice Award nomination.

On screen, Porter recently appeared on "American Horror Story: Apocalypse" and Baz Luhrman's "The Get Down" on Netflix. Under the direction of Barry Levinson, Porter starred in The Humbling, alongside Al Pacino and Greta Gerwig. His other film credits include Noel, The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy, Intern, Anastasia, and Twisted.

A veteran of the theatre, Porter recently reprised his role as Lola in the smash hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, for which he won the 2013 Drama Desk and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. His other Broadway acting credits include the Tony nominated Broadway musical, Shuffle Along, directed by George C. Wolfe, Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe, Grease, Smokey Joe's Café, and Dreamgirls (20th anniversary Broadway concert and LA Ovation Award). His Off Broadway and regional credits include Angels in America (Signature Theater), Romance In Hard Times, The Merchant of Venice, House of Lear, and Radiant Baby (The New York Shakespeare Festival), Birdie Blue (Second Stage), Angels in America (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Going Native (The Long Wharf), Jelly's Last Jam (Alliance), Topdog/Underdog (City Theatre), King Lear (Exit, Pursued By A Bear), Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World (original cast), Jesus Christ Superstar, Antigone, A Chorus Line, and Chicago.

His one-man show Ghetto Superstar: The Man That I Am, debuted at The Public Theater in conjunction with City Theatre of Pittsburgh and was nominated for a 2005 GLAAD Media Award. Porter was also named "Pittsburgh's Performer of the Year 2003-2004" by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.



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