“Kinky Boots” megastar Billy Porter has made a name for himself on stage and the red carpet by pushing the envelope and taking risks. He also has never shied away from sharing his thoughts and now he’s got a bone to pick with Harry Styles, and it has nothing to do with the “As It Was” crooner’s music.
The “Pose” star spoke to The Telegraph on Friday about the One Directioner’s 2020 Vogue covershoot where he made history as the first male cover star in the American magazine's history wearing a custom-made Gucci ball gown. According to Billy, Styles shouldn't be credited for putting non-binary fashion on the map.
Telling the outlet that Harry was able to land that cover because he’s “white and straight,” Billy said, “It doesn’t feel good to me. You’re using my community — or your people are using my community — to elevate you. You haven’t had to sacrifice anything.”
"It’s not Harry Styles’ fault that he happens to be white and cute and straight and fit into the infrastructure that way … I call out the gatekeepers,” Billy noted.
In the 2020 interview, Harry told Vogue “ "Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with. What's really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away.”
Harry added, "When you take away 'There's clothes for men and there's clothes for women,' once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play."
This shoot, according to Billy, was actually the impetus for a conversation between him and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour months before it ever occurred. He tells The Telegraph, “That b***h said to me at the end, ‘How can we do better?’ And I was so taken off guard that I didn’t say what I should have said.”
Billy says he wishes he’d remarked, "Use your power as Vogue to uplift the voices of the leaders of this de-gendering of fashion movement."
"Six months later, Harry Styles is the first man on the cover,” he notes.
Dang, Billy is clearly the queen of #RealTalk.
This isn’t the first time Billy has raised his concerns over Harry’s Vogue cover shoot. Speaking with The Sunday Times in 2021, Billy said Harry shouldn't be credited for putting non-binary fashion on the map. "I. Personally. Changed. The. Whole. Game," the""Pose " star said."And that is not ego, that is just fact. I was the first one doing it and now everybody is doing it."
"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."
"He doesn't care, he's just doing it because it's the thing to do," the Emmy winner said at the time. "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."
Other people in the community have also raised concerns about a straight white man like Harry taking the mantle and running with it. "It's an issue in terms of who gets to have these transgressive moments," London College of Fashion lecturer Fenella Hitchcock told DAZED in 2020. "We have cis white men who are celebrated for doing the very things that queer people do in day-to-day life all the time."
Naturally, people on social media are torn over Billy’s latest comments.