Billy Porter criticises Harry Styles’ ‘Vogue’ cover for “using” LGBTQ+ community
Billy Porter has reopened the discussion around Harry Styles‘ 2020 Vogue cover, insisting that it was “using” his LGBTQ+ community after the former One Direction star appeared on the iconic title in a dress.
Back in December 2020, Styles made history as US Vogue’s first-ever male solo cover star where he was pictured wearing a Gucci dress and skirt.
Porter, however, felt that Styles was not the right figure to represent the magazine’s inclusive message. Expressing his objection to the cover, the singer, actor and broadway star told The Times: “I created the conversation [about non-binary fashion] and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time.
Harry Styles photographed by Tyler Mitchell and styled by Camilla Nickerson for Vogue US, December Issue 2020.
This makes him the first man to grace the cover of American Vogue solo. – I pic.twitter.com/b9MPmL4haO
— IMONATION (@THEIMONATION) November 13, 2020
Porter later extended a public apology to Styles during an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, saying: “Harry Styles, I apologise to you for having your name in my mouth.
“It’s not about you. The conversation is not about you.”
The Pose star said that the conversation is “deeper than that”, explaining that “it is about the systems of oppression and erasure of people of colour who contribute to the culture”.
Now, Porter has elaborated on his feelings around the Vogue cover, telling The Telegraph in a new interview that Styles secured the honour of being the title’s first male cover because he’s “white and he’s straight”.
Porter emphasised that his problem isn’t with Styles personally, having sent him flowers “as an apology” after he first spoke out. “It’s not Harry Styles’s fault that he happens to be white and cute and straight and fit into the infrastructure that way…I call out the gatekeepers.”
He explained: “That’s why he’s on the cover. Non-binary blah blah blah blah. No. It doesn’t feel good to me. You’re using my community – or your people are using my community – to elevate you. You haven’t had to sacrifice anything.”
Porter also said that he’d done a Q&A with editor-in-chief Anna Wintour in front of Condé Nast staff months before the cover came out. “That bitch said to me at the end, ‘How can we do better?’ And I was so taken off guard that I didn’t say what I should have said.”
He added that he should have told her to “use your power as Vogue to uplift the voices of the leaders of this de-gendering of fashion movement … Six months later, Harry Styles is the first man on the cover”.
Meanwhile, Porter recently said that he has to sell his house due to ongoing strikes in Hollywood.