Last week, there was a lot to celebrate in terms of the Emmy nominations. Black actresses like Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Zendaya, Regina King, Cicely Tyson, Kerry Washington, Tracee Ellis Ross, and more were nominated for the award.
The nominations represent a record number for Black actors.
Still, many argued that there is real work to be done in terms of true inclusivity.
For instance, the only member to be nominated for their work on the groundbreaking show “Pose” was cisgender, gay man Billy Porter and none of the Black trans women with whom he performs.
And it wasn’t the first time.
In 2019, Porter was not only nominated for the Emmy, he took home the statue.
Interestingly enough, during the press conference backstage journalist, MadameNoire contributor, and content queen Danielle Young asked him if the award was somehow bittersweet given the fact that his trans castmates were not recognized in the same way.
Danielle asked, “Is it bittersweet for you to know that this win is amazing and historic but the women from “Pose” were kind of ignored? They weren’t nominated.”
Porter answered in a way that raised more than a few eyebrows.
“Umm I don’t live in bittersweet. I live in the present. I live in the positive. The fact that we’re in the building is the point, right? We’re in the building. The world has changed. Period. That’s where we are. And now we got another season. And now they’ll get their shot.”
Porter’s comments didn’t age all that well. Because the show got another season and once again, he was the only cast member nominated. And the Black women still did not get a nomination.
In response to the resurfaced clip, cast member Indya Moore answered the people who were asking her to share her opinion on Porter’s comments from last year.
“For now, I’ll say- I’m not responsible for the ways Billy or any other cis man or person fail to represent, acknowledge or directly support me and the other incredible and brilliant trans talent on our show. I’m also hurt and disappointed, have been for a while.”
In another tweet, she wrote:
“When people ask cis people (not trans people) about erasure and not come to us, they are actually asking you how should everyone respond… Your response cannot be wait your turn/more erasure. That’s not okay. But I’ll wait.”
I understand that perhaps Porter wanted to celebrate his win, after 30 years in the business, without reflecting on the people who were still being overlooked to make it so. But that doesn’t make it right.
And if anything the request that they wait their turn, is not only dismissive, it harkens back to the language white people used as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was fighting for civil rights for Black Americans.
Black trans women have waited long enough.
Whether the Emmys will nominate them in the future is up to them; but in the meantime, everyone associated with that show should be about the business of raising awareness for the good work the Black women on that show are doing. And that should most certainly include Porter.
In the days since this year’s Emmy nominations, Porter seemed to reconsider his stance on telling his costars to wait their turn.