2013 The Root 100

Billy Porter smashes stereotypes in Kinky Boots and wins 2013 Tony and Drama Desk awards for best actor. 

  • Influence: 12.56
  • Reach: 183.7
  • Substance: 7.2
  • Media Mentions: 542
  • Internet Mentions: 618000
  • Twitter Followers: 10836
  • Billy Porter

  • 2013 winner of Tony and Drama Desk awards for best actor.
  • Job: Singer, actor
  • Sector: Entertainment/Media
  • Twitter: @thebillyporter
  • Location: New York City
  • Age: 43
  • Bio:

    Billy Porter won the 2013 Tony and a 2013 Drama Desk Award for best actor for his role in Kinky Boots, but he has been a "Black Broadway Bitch" (the theme song from his 2005 autobiographical one-man show, Ghetto Superstar) since his Great White Way debut in 1991. Porter, whose previous Broadway credits include Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe, Grease and Smokey Joe's Café, is one of five African Americans to collect a Tony this year. His Kinky Boots role of Lola, a struggling "gender illusionist" who rocks thigh-high sequined red boots, is rich in character and agency. "Lola bucks the narrative of the white savior who comes in on his white horse and rescues whatever minority is in trouble," says Porter. "That entire narrative is flipped here, so that the black person is saving the white people -- and he happens to be a drag queen."

    Like his Facebook page. 

  • Fun Fact: Porter has a master's in fine arts from Carnegie Mellon University and is one of seven alumni nominated for a Tony in 2013.