Billy Porter reveals the one song changed the trajectory of his entire life

Billy Porter

Billy Porter opened up about the power of diverse representation in Hollywood during a new episode of “This Life of Mine with James Corden” — exclusively on SiriusXM’s Stars (Ch. 109) via the SiriusXM app and car radios.

Billy Porter shared with James that the song that had the biggest impact on his life was actually a live performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” by Jennifer Holliday at the Tony Awards in 1982.

“I’m washing dishes in my kitchen. The Tony Awards comes on,” Billy said. “For the first time in my life, I’m seeing Black people who aren’t slaves and who aren’t in the ghetto. Dressed in sequins, gowns, makeup, and hair, and elegant.”

Jennifer’s performance inspired him because “it was theater, but … it was on television,” he explained.

“I knew instantly, ‘That’s it. I can make money doing that,’” Billy continued. “I didn’t think about those people in the way as making money doing that. I didn’t realize it was a profession until I saw it on television. I can’t express enough that it was that song and that performance that literally changed the trajectory of my entire life.”

About This Life of Mine with James Corden

Featuring in-depth, richly produced conversations between Corden and a variety of prominent guests about the people, places, possessions, music, and memories that made them, This Life of Mine tells the never-before-heard stories that shaped the people at the top of their fields in film and television, sports, fashion, music, theatre, business, and more.

New episodes of “This Life of Mine with James Corden” air on Thursdays at 5 pm ET on Stars (Ch. 109). You can stream episodes anytime after their premiere on the SiriusXM app.