“Pose” Actor & Director Promotes PayPal’s ‘Give Better’ Campaign
Billy Porter is encouraging everyone to embrace the spirit of giving during the holiday season.
“You can give in all different kinds of ways,” Porter told us by phone from Los Angeles. “It’s not just money. You can volunteer your time. You can be a mentor for a young child. You can stop by a food bank and donate some cans. You can donate some of them clothes you ain’t wearing no more.”
The actor and singer partnered with PayPal’s “Give Better” campaign, an initiative urging the public to donate, volunteer and support small businesses. We spoke to the veteran thespian about his favorite charities and what it was like becoming a leading man at the tender age of 50:
BOSSIP: What inspired you to partner with PayPal for “Giving Tuesday”?
Billy Porter: “PayPal reached out and asked me to be part of this initiative. I’d never heard of it before. They’ve been involved since about 2012, and this year, it was one Tuesday, and now we’re trying to spark every Tuesday of the giving season. And also use this moment as a springboard to ignite the spirit of giving inside each of us year-round. We have to start thinking about giving year-round. And giving isn’t just about money – although PayPal will match every donation you make by 10 percent. That is not the only way to give.”
BOSSIP: Are there charities that you are particularly passionate about?
Billy Porter: “There are two that I’m deeply connected to. When I came out in 1985, and we went straight to the front lines to fight for our lives and I went to Broadway and was introduced to Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS and The Actors Fund of America, and those two organizations really taught me what activism really meant and how to get involved and how to make it a daily walk of life. The Actors Fund, in particular, they’ve been around for 137 years and their mission is to make sure artists are taken care of for the entirety of their lives. And as you know we’re freelance people, and it can be tenuous sometimes. They really came through for me in my low times. I had a good decade or more where I wasn’t really working, and I was on the precipice of obscurity. It wasn’t good, bankruptcy and all of those things and they stepped in and helped with rent, they helped with utility bills and medical bills and social services. They really really helped me. And fast forward to a couple of years ago, my mother, who is disabled, is living in The Actor’s Fund nursing home in New Jersey. They’re really dear to my heart.”
BOSSIP: Tells us about your thought process in shooting the intimate scenes between Ricky and Pray Tell in “Pose.”
Billy Porter: “I’ve been a character actor all my life, and I’ve never been the object of anyone’s affections in anything ever in my 30-year career until last year. It blew my mind. It shocked me. I signed my nudity clause as a character actor – and I came out on the other side as a leading man!”
Check out the video above for the entire interview.