Billy Porter is a Consequence of his own making
Billy Porter recently had a round table with The Hollywood Reporter and spoke about the “double layer” of discrimination he feels he’s faced in Hollywood. In a nutshell, even with all his talents, creativity, critical acclaim and awards for his theater career; he was/is being passed over for roles in Hollywood not only because he’s Black but because he is gay.
When it comes to race, it’s not that I don’t understand where he and many actors of color in Hollywood are coming from as it relates to “being passed over for roles”. Think about it from this perspective; the family in A Quiet Place could have easily been played by Black or Latino actors and the film could have possibly been more successful and had a greater cultural impact. The same goes for Bird Box on Netflix.
As you saw, Porter states ‘they’ (Hollywood casting directors), “can’t see you as anything else other than flamboyant.” Rumor is his reaction came about after he got passed over for the role of Don Shirley in Green Book which was given to Mahershala Ali who subsequently won an Oscar for the role. Porter continues with, “These gay roles go to straight actors who get accolades for playing gay.”
While I don’t fully disagree with him, Porter is a consequence of his own making.
Porter has successfully built his brand and image of that of an empowered, sassy, effeminate, flamboyant Queen. His self-branding and promotion is the reason audiences can’t see past the image he has built for himself. Every pic of this dude on the red carpet, he’s in drag. One’s brand can open and close doors.
There’s nothing wrong with the image or brand he has built but he can’t cry foul when his brand doesn’t fit a perspective role. His brand and disposition is a package deal. I can’t see him playing a hetero / bisexual anything. This isn’t any different from audiences having a difficult time seeing RuPaul as anything other than a (multimillionaire) drag queen and no more so than audiences not seeing Tituss Burgess as anything other than a comedic sassy fem. One shouldn’t be mad at the house they purposely built. This is truth we live in.
Personally it would be hard for me to see Porter playing anything other than a flamboyant effeminate role. The illusion would not be believable much like believing Andrew Caldwell loves “women, women, women”.
Also as a rebuttal to Porter’s comment, unless masculine leaning actors publically profess their sexuality, one can’t assume “straight actors are taking gay roles” simply because they’re discreet and don’t wear their sexuality on their sleeves.
If you look at other Black male actors like; Trevante Rhodes, Anthony Mackie, Mahershala Ali, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Rockmond Dunbar, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Ving Rhames, Michael K. Williams, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Mathew St Patrick, Andre Holland, and Andre Braugher; all have played non-heterosexual characters in television or film and can easily be believed when they are cast as heterosexual characters.
Film and television (Hollywood) is in the business of selling illusions. The audiences’ mind has to be willing to accept those illusions and unfortunately Porter’s flamboyancy prevents the sell of a particular illusion. I think Billy should embrace the niche he created for himself and campaign heavily to get Barry Jenkins, Ava Duvernay or Jordan Peele to create, write or produce a James Baldwin biopic and cast him as the lead…which in my opinion is the role he was born to play. Not only that, if Little Richard unfortunately passes away soon, it would be another biopic role he could have in the bag.
The challenge in being an actor is your commitment and understanding of the character. If you're a gay man playing a gay role it isn't very much a departure of who you are unless if you're playing blind, an amputee, or mentally challenged gay man. The accolades received for straight actors to play gay roles is more spotlighted when they had or add a sensitivity to the role. When Will Smith played that gay conman in Six Degrees of Separation, I read that his only regret with that role is that he didn't fully commit to being the character for as I thought about it he didn't kiss another guy and the "sexual situations" were implied.
Knowing that @OckyDub is clearly smarter than this thread he has created I suspect this has to be at least a 75% troll thread to illicit a conversation that he internally knows is complete bull shit at its finest.
But what the hell, I don't have shit to do right now, i'll bite.
So we're talking about ACTORS right? People who's main job is to suspend the identity of who they are as a person in reality and portray a fictional or non-fictional person/character with an immense amount of talent that you believe it and are transported into the story that's un-folding.
When is comes to gay BLACK men, WHO THE FUCK WOULD BE BETTER ACTORS? Think about it?
Billy Porter is VERY flamboyant. He owns that. And he may have been that way for a while. However, as a gay black man in America, NOT ONE of us has always sashayed through the door with full flamboyancy, including Billy Porter. There was a moment in his life or several situations where he had to "portray" someone other than who he is to garner respect, acceptance, not ruffle feathers, not embarrass loved one, etc etc. Basically ACT without pay! Channel a narrative the room would deem more acceptable than who you actually are.
I feel like gay black men are or have the potential to be hands down the best actors the world has EVER seen!!!
I dont care how flamboyant Billy Porter, RuPaul or any other effeminate gay black man is in real life, its no way anyone will convince me these men wouldn't be able to dive into a straight character with such conviction the world would shake. Why? Because they are not completely oblivious to that world. They may have seen it in their fathers, uncles, pastors, brothers, co-workers, hell THE WORLD. Can the same be said for "straight" male actors portraying gay roles? Often times they have to re-search and dive into "gayness" which often times is the most outrageous sterotypes they think gay people are and that is what you say on screen.
Now when it comes to the audience, yes, people will definitely side-eye a Billy Porter playing a straight actor going into the movie at first, but I know probably for a fact that that mans performance would be so fucking ground breaking, more than half of the jaded, less than smart, audience with pre-conceived notions of what "gay" is would realize their ignorance.
Suspension of disbelief. Total nonsense. A whole slew of words, but you said absolutely nothing of value. Stop being such a fag.
Film and television (Hollywood) is in the business of selling illusions. The audiences’ mind has to be willing to accept those illusions and unfortunately Porter’s flamboyancy prevents the sell of a particular illusion. I think Billy should embrace the niche he created for himself and campaign heavily to get Barry Jenkins, Ava Duvernay or Jordan Peele to create, write or produce a James Baldwin biopic and cast him as the lead…which in my opinion is the role he was born to play. Not only that, if Little Richard unfortunately passes away soon, it would be another biopic role he could have in the bag.Click to expand…
And when it comes to this statement in particular, i'm kind of embarrassed that anyone with an education wouldn't right away realize the hypocrisy in it.
So you say (Hollywood) is in the business of selling "illusions" and right after that you insert Billy Porter, a black, gay flamboyant man in his real life, into roles that are black, gay, men being flamboyantly educated and flamboyant musically talented. WHERE THE FUCK IS THE ILLUSION?
You know why Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays the hero, because he's THE ROCK. Hollywood and its illusions were really at their best when Beyonce played a woman in a musical group in Dream Girls and Lady Gaga playing a singer in A Star is Born. Wait a minute, oh yeah, THATS WHAT THEY ARE!!!
You wanna see an illusion? Give me Billy Porter in an Idris Elba role and Idris Elba as Little Richard. That'll tell you who's REALLY talented.
Hollywood is categorically NOT in the business of illusions. They sell you exactly what you already believe and knows that their audience are NOT the smartest people. Which is why Billy Porter will more than likely always play a gay man, their will never be an Asian male heart throb lead actor fucking the shit out of Scarlett Johansen in a major motion picture, or white people playing in any servitude manner to minority races (black, latino, etc) in more than one movie that isn't doing it as a go against the grain statement piece.
The problem is absolutely not Billy Porter and the only consequences he has to deal with is living in a world and definitely a country where the majority of its occupants are not intelligent and completely surface level individuals who buy into the extremes of a persons personality, habit, or idiosyncrasies and take that as 100% completely who they are. Refusing to see thats one aspect of who that person is, but ultimately people are layered as fuck and is NEVER one thing.
The issue he was addressing was that straight actors are always given the opp to play a gay role over a gay actor playing a straight role. It is an issue in the acting world.
Now can Billy Porter play a straight role? That is a separate question and convo. I don't care for him to. He can be the gay Taraji P Henson and it will be fine. I don't see him being that type of actor. I definitely don't even see him being able to pull a Luther Vandross either lol. TBH
I think she needs to look at herself. I have been out of the closet for forty-five years and even I get sick and tired of a stereotypical loud mouth black ass queen image. Every role he’s had is a cookie cutout of his previous roles. An actor is suppose to portray something different from himself. Billy can’t do that. He is what he is and will be called up when needed to do just that.
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The same can be said for the pornstars who act masculine but are far from anything like that in person.
He might could pull it off.
Also, I'd love to see A Quiet Place, Bird Box, Jurassic World featuring people of color or anyone other than white Americans as leads. It's 2019 and we have yet to have this and when we do have something like this.