Recently, Billy Porter decided to take up the mantle of ensuring folks respect iconic author James Baldwin‘s name by creating a biography about him. And Billy is going to portray Baldwin as well. Of course, since many only know Billy as the outspoken gender-bending gentleman of zero fucks, they’re wondering if he has the acting chops to pull it off. Well, since Billy has never been one to shy away from telling people to politely go to hell, during an appearance on The Tamron Hall Show, Billy gathered his critics like logs for a fire before torching them so that this conversation never has to happen again.
According to Deadline, Billy and Dan McCabe are co-writing a James Baldwin film that stemmed from Billy’s bewilderment after discovering a college English professor had no idea who Baldwin was. However, we should all be thanking this wise fool for igniting the fire inside of Billy to tell Baldwin’s story on the big screen.
“James Baldwin and his work and what he represented in the world, everything, he’s one of the first people who I saw who looked like me, who represented me in the fullness: Black, queer, and present,” Porter said. “I’m alive because I was able to see him in my early 20s,”
Billy also wanted to clear up any misconceptions for those who believe their opinion about his ability to portray Baldwin matters, and the bottom line is, it doesn’t. Billy doesn’t bite his tongue, and he damn sure won’t be starting now, so he had a message for anyone who thinks he can’t pull it off.
“First and foremost, the internet has created a space where it’s made people think that their opinion matters at all — it doesn’t. I am 53 years old and I’ve dedicated my life to my art and my craft. Question me at your own peril.”
“It’s alright. Call it whatever you want, arrogant… whatever you want. I’ve worked hard for this,” he continued. “And my mantra and I say it all the time, I do not now, nor will I ever, adjudicate my life or humanity in sound bites on social media. I’m going to focus on the work — that’s all I can do. People have been doubting me my whole life. This ain’t nothing new. None of it is new.”
Yeah, I don’t think I want to fool with anyone who uses the word “peril” because they’re usually the ones with razor blades underneath their tongue. Billy’s already got an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony, so all he needs is the O (Oscar) to EGOT, and this role could get him there. And if it does, he’ll probably start his acceptance speech by lifting his award and declaring, “SHOVE IT,” to his critics.