Billy Porter is a big star, but he’s an even bigger community activist. He headlined Back To the Drive for Stonewall National Museum & Archives, rallying the crowd and helping raise $60K.
About 200 people packed into the Crystal Ballroom at The Venue in Wilton Manors to hear the “Pose” star speak. The food was good, and the drinks were intoxicating, but everyone was there for Porter.
“The speech was empowering and emotional, reminding us all the work ahead without ever diminishing all our community has accomplished,” Stonewall Executive Director Robert Kesten said. “His impassioned delivery moved everyone and made it an event few will forget.”
Trans activist Rajee Narinesingh arrived at the event and was greeted with a surprise.
“I got here, and they said they had a job for me! They invited me to escort Billy down, and I was shocked.”
She walked him down the stairs from VIP to the stage, and made the most of her one-on-one time with Porter.
“You can tell he’s someone who’s been around the block, who’s been in the community, and you can feel the passion he has for our community. It’s for the good fight, for our humanity. I really believe that.”
As guests entered, they were greeted by a display honoring five people as part of the Standing On the Shoulders of Heroes exhibit. Many walked right past them, but Porter stopped and took it all in.
After his speech, and a couple of cakes to celebrate his 54th birthday, a sixth panel was brought on stage and unveiled that Porter was the newest addition to the Heroes exhibit.
“It was heartwarming to see his expression when the panel with his name on it was unveiled,” Kesten said. “His surprise and appreciation for being recognized was appreciated by all of us at Stonewall.”
After the ceremony, Porter was mobbed by appreciative fans. He stood there, taking one selfie after another. Some fans even circled back for a second picture. It’s a night that Stonewall and its backers won’t soon forget.