Billy Porter on “Pose” and Ryan Murphy

by Luca Celada June 1, 2018

Ryan Murphy has made a career of giving voice to the stigmatized and culturally dispossessed. Shows like Glee and American Horror Story have been milestones in that regard, collectively earning six Golden Globes (and more than twenty nominations). With Pose he explores the colorful counterculture of urban “Balls”, a milieu which seems tailor-made for the kind of empowering metaphor he has mastered. The spectacle of cross-dressing and dancing competition that are Balls have roots which go back as far as the Harlem renaissance and received impetus from the affirmation of urban LGBTQ culture in 1980s in New York. What became an integral expression of African American and Latino gay culture, blending hip hop and “voguing” with cabaret and fashion glamour, influenced mainstream entertainers like Madonna and Beyonce, Pose features Billy Porter, the multi-talented performer of theater, film, television as well as recording artist, as a Ball MC. The HFPA’s Anke Hoffman and Kirpi Uimonen Ballestros met him at a New York rehearsal stage and asked him about the show.