Billy Porter Criticises Vogue For Offering Harry Styles The Historic Dress Cover Shoot
"I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned now. All he has to do is be white and straight."
Emmy-award winner Billy Porter has called out Vogue for offering Harry Styles the cover in an issue last year.
Back in December 2020, Harry Styles made history as the first man to feature on the cover of Vogue by himself. At the time, Styles said, “I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing. There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I’ve never really thought too much about what it means.”
In a new interview with The Sunday Times to promote his upcoming memoir, the Emmy and Tony award-winning actor discussed the double-edged sword of Styles’ historic cover.
“I changed the whole game,” he told The Sunday Times. “And that is not ego, that is just fact. I was the first one doing it and now everybody is doing it.
“I feel like the fashion industry has accepted me because they have to. I’m not necessarily convinced and here is why. I created the conversation [about non-binary fashion] and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time.”
Porter emphasised that the issue is not with Styles himself, but with the homophobia and racism still prevalent within the industry that erases Black queer folks. “I’m not dragging Harry Styles, but he is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation? He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do.”
Imagine attacking Billy Porter because he has a problem with publications centering a straight wh*te man like Harry Styles for doing something that Queer folks have been doing yet get ridiculed and harassed for pic.twitter.com/aivL9bgCjG
— jeremy☝️🏾 (@bearimey) October 18, 2021
“This is politics for me,” Porter said. “This is my life. I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned now. All he has to do is be white and straight.”
It’s worth noting here that the person who is crediting Porter for “creating the conversation” around non-binary fashion is Porter. While the actor is a proudly out gay man, he is cis-gendered, as is Styles — ad conversations around de-gendering fashion should not centre on cis folks.
Harry Styles has not responded to Porter’s comments. Billy Porter’s memoir Unprotected will be published later this month.