“The context of the show and the storytelling is not about sexuality,” said "Kinky Boots" star Billy Porter on Sunday's "MHP." “It’s about the simple fact that acceptance is first. You can change the world when you change your mind.”
Hot off a Tony Award win for Kinky Boots, Broadway actor Billy Porter stopped by the Melissa Harris-Perry studio to discuss the buzz around the acclaimed musical.
Porter won a Tony for “Best Actor” last month for his performance as Lola, a fabulous, big city drag queen and one of the stars of the show.
On Sunday’s show, Porter told host Melissa Harris-Perry that the main message of Kinky Boots is “about love and it’s about acceptance.”
The musical follows Charlie Price (portrayed by Tony nominee Stark Sands) as he’s faced with the challenge of rescuing his newly-inherited shoe factory from financial doom. When he meets Lola, he’s inspired to save the family business by swapping out men’s footwear for fashionable boots for drag queens. In the end the unlikely pair of friends learn to accept each other and in turn, themselves.
“What I love about it is that we get to have the conversation in context with a drag queen versus a man, a black man versus a white man,” Porter said. “It’s so amazing as an artist to be able to have that platform, to be able to be of service in that way.”
The fun and eccentric production, written by famed playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein with music and lyrics composed by pop singer Cyndi Lauper, snagged six Tony awards last month, including one for “Best Score” and another for “Best Musical.” But more important is its efforts to break down stereotypes.
When asked if performance art can be used to give people entry into human experiences, Porter answered, “It can frame these ideas and put them in context of storytelling in a way where it’s not about shaming, it’s not about wagging fingers. It’s just simply about presenting the facts and presenting the story.”
“The context of the show and the storytelling is not about sexuality,” Porter added. “It’s about the simple fact that acceptance is first. You can change the world when you change your mind.”
Watch a clip from the award winning musical below: