Billy Porter has blasted the decision to have Harry Styles as Vogue magazine’s first male cover star.
The former One Direction star graced the front of the US edition of the iconic publication for the December 2020 issue, which marked the first time in its history a man had the honour.
However, Porter – who previously stated he ‘changed the game’ in terms of breaking gender norms in fashion – took issue with the cover, and despite apologising over the row two years ago, he’s again hit out at the decision.
He has recalled, months before the Vogue US cover, doing a Q&A with editor Anna Wintour, revealing: ‘That b**** 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.’
Speaking to the Telegraph, he admitted he wishes he’d told her: ‘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.’
He did send Harry flowers ‘as an apology’ after initially speaking out against the cover, and he has reiterated he doesn’t blame the Watermelon Sugar singer.
‘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 claimed.
Porter – who acknowledged he isn’t ‘the first’ to push the boundaries of gender stereotypes in pop culture, giving a nod to late singers David Bowie and Sylvester – insisted there is a deeper rooted issue with the cover.
He added: ‘[Harry is] white and he’s straight. 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.’
Harry has become known for his eclectic and androgynous style, and for the Vogue shoot, he wore skirts and dresses as well as trousers and shirts.
Admitting he always liked dressing up as a child, he previously said: ‘Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with. What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away.’
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