Watch CBS Mornings interview with Billy Porter on the eve of his memoir Unprotected hitting shelves in paperback October 25. With sights set on telling the truth in full, the interview discusses Porter's his relationship with his mother, why Ryan Murphy and Gayle King were on his vision board, and how getting attention for his Oscar dress was him "being good at his job."
He talked with hosts Gayle King, Tony Dokoupil, and Nate Burleson about some moments highlighted in the book, such as the time he came home from being bullied with a split lip and bruise shining around his eye. His mother's response? Porter shared with a laugh, "She said, 'They crucified Jesus. You're gonna be alright.'"
Porter also revealed that King was on his vision board, surprising all three hosts. “All my black ladies, you [Gayle King], Oprah…you were just on the vision board because you all represented what could be, what was possible for us as Black people. And Ryan was on my vision board because he’s not afraid of extra. He’s not afraid of flamboyance. He’s one of the people in the market that would understand me, and embrace the totality of me. And not try to dampen me, not try to silence me.”
When asked by Burleson why he titled the memoir Unprotected, Porter explained, "Unprotected has a connotation to it that, I think, expands beyond just me. And particularly in this time we are in in the world, all of us are unprotected."
Despite that sobering view, Porter also shared his belief that the world is changing. "I do believe that, for the most part, we are [in a better place culturally in accepting each other]. And I think, unfortunately with our news cycles, they are all for-profit now. So, if it bleeds, it leads. So, the only thing we hear about is the negative. But, the message that I wanted to get out is that the change has already happened, y'all."
With nine Broadway credits to his name, Porter is a Tony winner for his performance as Lola in Kinky Boots and as a producer of A Strange Loop. He has also graced the TV screen in Pose as Pray Tell which also earned Porter an Emmy.