Billy Porter tells the world, ‘We all have the right’

A man wears a suit with crystal pinstripes and a large asymmetrical cowboy hat
Billy Porter made history in 2019, becoming the first openly gay Black man to win the lead actor in a drama Emmy.
(Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

This is one of our nine most surprising, historic and memorable moments from past Emmys. See the full list.

The 71st Emmy Awards made history when Billy Porter won for lead actor in a drama series for his triumphant portrayal of Pray Tell on the FX series “Pose,” which poetically shed light on New York City’s underground ball culture in the 1980s. From its inception, creator Steven Canals says the series had “always been in conversation with real events” and “honors the reality of what it means to be part of the LGBQT+ community.” Porter became the first openly gay Black man to win an Emmy and, during his moving speech, quoted American writer and activist James Baldwin to thunderous applause. “It took many years of vomiting up all the filth that I had been taught about myself and halfway believed before I could walk around this Earth like I had the right to be here. I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right.”