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'Pose's Billy Porter Gets 2021 Emmy Nom, Talks Power of Pray Tell

Billy Porter in Pose

Pose is going out on a high.

Today at the nominations for the 2021 Emmy Awards, Pose racked up the nods. Mj Rodriguez made history when she picked up a nomination for Lead Actress. With it, she became the first out trans person ever nominated in a major category. The series itself also picked up a Best Drama Series nomination while the creator Steven Canals picked up a nod for Best Direction. But for the third and final season, Billy Porter also picked up a nomination.

Porter made history in 2019 when he became the first Black, out actor to win an acting Emmy. This was for the first season of Pose. He was also nominated for the second season. 

In the third season of the show, Pray Tell, who is battling HIV begins a fight with alcohol addiction. As the prognosis for his HIV worsens, he begins to make plans for his death, even going back to his home town to make amends with his mother. This was episode four of the season, titled "Tame Me to Church," which Porter said he will likely submit to the Emmys as he faces off in the category against the other lead actor nominees.

"That's a conversation and dialogue I'm trying to have with my community and the Black church in particular," he told Entertainment Weekly of the episode. "It's something I have been talking about as a non-famous person for a very long time. It's not about disrespect. It's about holding our religious communities accountable for what they say. Actions speak louder than words. And the actions I'm receiving right now are not of God. They don't have anything to do with God.

Please stop weaponizing the Bible to justify your hate. We must stop doing that. That's the conversation I'm trying to have. I think we succeeded with episode four by cracking that conversation open. It's one I want to continue to have in real time."

He went on telling the outlet that he knew from season one that Pray Tell would eventually die. But the timing struck him.

"What I find so profound about his journey is that Pray Tell missed the antiretroviral drugs by about a year," he said. "So many of my friends and colleagues missed the antiretroviral drugs that would have saved their lives. I can't even put words to how grateful I am to have been able, as an HIV-positive man, to get the antiretroviral drugs. They saved my life so that I can be here right now, doing what I'm doing. It's very profound and… moving to me."

Porter revealed that he was living with HIV around the time of the episode's airing.

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