Billy Porter delivered a powerful message at the 2019 Tony Awards Sunday, rocking a custom-made gown crafted from the stage curtain of “Kinky Boots” that included a subtle yet striking nod to women’s rights.
Porter, who rocked instantly iconic looks at the Golden Globes, the Oscars and the Met Gala earlier this year, said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that the train of the gown features a subtle pattern in the shape of uterus.
“I thought it was awesome because women’s rights are under attack right now. I’m an advocate for all who are disenfranchised,” he said. “None of us are free until we’re all free!”
Currently seen on FX’s “Pose,” the actor and singer won a Tony for his portrayal of drag queen Lola of “Kinky Boots” in 2013. That musical, which featured music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, closed April 7 after 2,507 performances.
When the production closed, stylist Sam Ratelle was approached by Scenery Bags to see if Porter would be interested in having the stage curtain made into a purse.
Ratelle opted instead to have Celestino Couture start sketching options for Porter’s Tony Awards gown, the actor recalled in a New York Times interview published Sunday.
“I want to flip the question of what it means to be a man,” Porter said of the ensemble. “This question of masculinity, this sort of microscope of heteronormative masculinity that we are very often held up to, especially as leading men, needs to be shattered. You know, it’s toxic and I’m over it and I’ve lived it and I’m not doing it anymore.”