'Pose' Star and Emmy Nominee Billy Porter Urges Senate to Pass Relief Package for Arts Workers

Following the 2020 Emmy nominations, Billy Porter appeared virtually on Late Night With Seth Meyers on Tuesday night to discuss the nomination for his performance in Pose and the grassroots campaign Be an Arts Hero, for which he is an ambassador.

At the top of the show, the late night host congratulated the actor on his second nomination for playing Pray Tell in the FX drama, which was revealed during an announcement hosted by Saturday Night Live comedian Leslie Jones earlier in the day. 

"It's a really interesting journey," said Porter, adding that he's grateful to be on the "transformative" show, where "art leads activism" for him. The actor won the award last year, which was his first primetime Emmy recognition. 

With the Emmy ceremony moving forward virtually this year, Meyers said that he will miss Porter's fashion statement on the red carpet, though the actor hinted he may still have something in mind.

As Pose halted production due to COVID-19, Porter shared that he has continued with his various writing and producing projects, joking that he's "trying to be the head bitch in charge."

The actor went on to say that he is trying to be the change he wants to see, enlarge his territory and greenlight his own projects while giving "a voice to the voiceless."

The volunteer-run campaign, Be an Arts Hero, is currently pushing the Senate to allocate a relief package to arts workers who have lost income due to the pandemic. "There's so much funding that is necessary in this crisis in particular," said Porter, who described the Broadway arts community as working-class people who live hand-to-mouth — as he did for 30 years — and two to five paychecks away from poverty.

"This moment has illuminated that in really stark ways," continued Porter. He is calling on the senators to explore how to make sure this relief package is put through as soon as possible. 

More information on the initiative can be found here.