Billy Porter has hit out at Vogue as well as, Harry Styles after they featured the former boy band member on the cover of the publication wearing a dress…
Now, Harry Styles’ Vogue cover, was nothing short of iconic.
It was November 2020 when we first got a glimpse of Styles adorning a Gucci jacket and a lace, baby blue gown on the cover of one of the world’s biggest publications. The “Golden” singer also made history as the first man to be graced with the honor of claiming the prestigious cover shoot.
Though public reaction at the time was very mixed, with some people claiming Styles was helping to eradicate “manly men” from our society…
Others were happy to see that the conversation around non-binary fashion, as well as toxic masculinity, were re-ignited amongst the masses.
However, fast forward a year and now that the hype around it has died down…
Pose’s Billy Porter has come to the forefront to discuss how Styles’ cover shot affected him as a Black man who has been trying to break gender fashion norms for the best part of a decade.
“I changed the whole game,” Porter said. “I. Personally. Changed. The. Whole. Game. And that is not ego, that is just fact. I was the first one doing it and now everybody is doing it.”
Porter has always been known for his flamboyant style. Whether it be at the Met Gala or just a quick snapshot for his personal Instagram account, you will never catch the fifty-two-year-old slacking. But after so much groundwork for the non-binary fashion industry, was it a slap in the face that a white, not exclusively straight, but a man who has only been known for dating women, conventionally attractive twenty-something-year-old made history for wearing a dress on the cover of a women’s magazine?
“I feel like the fashion industry has accepted me because they have to. I’m not necessarily convinced and here is why,” he continued.
“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.
“He is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation?” Porter added went on, pointing out that while Styles is a prominent figure, his fashion choices are just a reflection of our time.
“He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do,” he continued.
“This is politics for me. This is my life. I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned now. All he has to do is be white and straight.”
There’s no denying that Harry Styles’ cover shoot broke barriers and brought the conversation about un-doing gender norms regarding clothing…
But in the bigger picture, was it really a win?
Porter’s response has brought us back to the reality of what it means to be classed as “other” in this society. And by “other”, I mean anyone that’s not white and straight. In the world that we live in, there is clearly some truth behind the idea that people of color, especially Black folk, have to work twice as hard to get the recognition we automatically give to straight, white men for doing the bare minimum.
And that’s on periodt.