In his recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Billy Porter clarified his remarks made about Harry Styles’ Vogue cover, which is described as' ‘historic’. The cover was described as historic because Harry Styles was the first-ever solo male cover star for the magazine, along with the fact that he was featured on the cover wearing a full-length gown, which led to fans and audience praising the singer for breaking down the stereotypes surrounding toxic masculinity.
But, in his previous interview with Britain’s Sunday Times, "Cinderella" actor, Billy Porter pointed out that he was the one doing it, and now everybody is doing it. What he meant with his statement was that he was the one who started to break down the barriers of toxic masculinity way before Harry Styles. He also mentioned during his interview, "I'm not dragging Harry Styles, but ... he doesn't care, he's just doing it because it's the thing to do. This is politics for me. This is my life."
Further in his interview, Billy Porter didn’t seem to hold back and said that he had to fight his entire life to get to the place where he is today, which is to wear a dress to the Academy Awards and all Harry Styles had to do was to be white and straight. It should be noted that Harry Styles has never acknowledged his sexuality in public.
So, when Stephen Colbert asked Billy Porter about his comments on Harry Styles’ Vogue cover, the actor stated that he was surprised with the fact that his comments on the singer’s cover were blown out of proportion, especially when there are so many other things people should focus on right now. Billy Porter also issued an apology to Harry Styles.
Billy Porter’s apology read, "Harry Styles, I apologize to you for having your name in my mouth. It's not about you. The conversation is not about you. The conversation is actually deeper than that. It is about the systems of oppression and erasure of people of color who contribute to the culture. Now, that's a lot to unpack. I'm willing to unpack it, sans the dragging and cancel culture of the Internet, because I do not know, nor will ever, adjudicate my life or humanity in sound bites on social media. So when you're ready to have the real conversation, call a bitch. OK? I'm ready to have it!"
Billy Porter ended this topic of discussion on a lighter note by stating that Harry Styles is cute, and he meant no harm to the singer. With his comments, it was evident that embracing gender-fluid fashion was more than just making a statement for Billy Porter. During the interview, the actor also spoke about his upcoming memoir, "Unprotected", where he mentioned to the host that COVID downtime has helped him to restore and look back at his various successes. He also mentioned to Stephen Colbert that the pandemic helped the actor to have his own space to find inner peace, which he later stated as "I’m feeling real joy for the first time in my life."
Talking more about his memoir, the Grammy and Emmy-winning actor, Billy Porter, said that "Unprotected", served as a long-overdue opportunity for him to turn the spotlight inward. He called the process of writing his memoir as a part of healing his trauma with the power of art, where he confessed that he was told that his queerness was going to be his liability until he was cast in ‘Kinky Boots'. The actor also said that the fact that he was open about his HIV diagnosis in 2017 helped him to embrace his authentic self when it comes to playing roles on-screen and now with his memoir. He added lastly, "My hope is that my story and my journey will free somebody else, and set somebody else free. Because it sets me free."
"Unprotected" is a memoir of Billy Porter with his raw vulnerability where he has poured his heart out, stating how the effects of childhood abuse prevented him from loving black men romantically for the longest time. In one of the chapters in his memoir, Billy Porter writes, "My desire to be seen and heard in spaces where my humanity was consistently diminished or dismissed was my unconscious goal. This unnamed burning in my soul would turn out to become the engine that fuels my focus and my dreams to this very day."