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Billy Porter’s Stirring Oration on Coming of Age Amidst the AIDS Crisis

Acclaimed Actor Delivers Powerful Speech, Receives Keys to the City

Miami Beach, FL – April 16, 2024 – In a moving and poignant speech at the Miami Beach Pride celebration, acclaimed actor Billy Porter reflected on his experiences coming of age during the HIV/AIDS crisis. Porter, who is best known for his role in the FX series “Pose,” was presented with the keys to the city by Miami Beach Commissioner Alex Fernandez, who praised the Grammy winner as “the key to the happiness and joy of so many.”


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Recounting the Challenges of the AIDS Epidemic

In his address, Porter, who was 16 years old at the start of the AIDS crisis, spoke about the resilience and determination of the LGBTQ+ community during that harrowing time. “We didn’t have the luxury to hide. We didn’t have the luxury to not be active,” Porter said. “We had to go straight to the front lines to fight for our lives, and that’s exactly what we did. We came together as a community, we fought back, and we succeeded.”

Calling for Unity and Renewed Activism

Porter’s speech also touched on the current challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community and the need for continued activism and solidarity. “We’re now in a position where we must come together again. We must fight the forces of evil that are trying to destroy us,” he said. The actor emphasized the importance of using art and expression as a means of resistance, quoting author Toni Morrison: “This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There’s no need for fear. There’s no room for silence. We speak, we write, we do language. This is how civilizations heal.”

Reflecting on the Civil Rights Movement

Drawing parallels to the civil rights movement, Porter invoked the classic song “A Change Is Gonna Come,” but noted that “the change came, and the change went. What are we gonna do now?” He called on the LGBTQ+ community and its allies to “re-engage” and “pay attention again,” stating that “this is not a parade, it’s a march. That’s what it was when we started. This march [is] political.”

Emphasizing the Need for a New Approach

“It’s time for all of us to come together and figure out what ‘going high’ looks like in this new world order. It is not 1963. We cannot use the same tactics,” Porter said. The actor acknowledged that he is not a politician and does not have all the answers, but stressed the need for a fresh, proactive strategy to address the challenges facing the community.

“It’s time to get in these streets again. This is not a parade, it’s a march. That’s what it was when we started. This march [is] political,” he concluded.

“The change has already happened, and now we must fight to preserve it,” said Porter in a quote that encapsulates the core message of his powerful speech.

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