Billy Porter and Jharrel Jerome Make History With Emmy Wins

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Sep 23, 2019

Billy Porter (“Pose”) made history on Sunday (September 23) as the first openly gay Black man to win an Emmy Award for lead actor. Quoting the iconic James Baldwin in his acceptance speech, Porter said, “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.” He added: “I have the right, you have the right, we all have the right.” 

Watch a clip from the speech below, courtesy of Vulture:

Another much-anticipated win went to Jharrel Jerome for his performance as the Exonerated Five’s Korey Wise in “When They See Us.” The win made Jerome the first Afro-Latinx actor to win an Emmy for acting, and the youngest person to win in the actor in a limited series category. “I hope that this is a step forward for Dominicans, for Latinos, for Afro-Latinos. It’s about time that we are here,” he said in the press room after the win. Watch the entire interview, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter:

Outside those two big victories, the winners were largely White. In fact, only 26 of actors and reality show hosts of color were nominated in 2019, versus last year’s total of 38, as Colorlines previously reported. “When They See Us” brought in the most nominations for people of color, according to Deadline, but series’ director and co-writer Ava DuVernay and the majority of the cast members went home empty-handed.