Billy Porter responds to potential backlash over ‘genderless’ Fairy Godmother

FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2020 file photo, Billy Porter arrives at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los A
FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2020 file photo, Billy Porter arrives at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Airbnb is setting aside $1 million and enlisting the help of Porter to launch a competition to create what it calls the most unconventional and unusual liveable spaces on the planet. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Billy Porter has said he is not concerned about a potential backlash against his decision to play a “genderless” Fairy Godmother in the upcoming Cinderella film.

The Pose star is thought to be the first male to take the role in a mainstream adaption of the classic tale, which will feature singer Camila Cabello as the title character.

Porter said “magic has no gender” and he will play the godmother as neither male nor female.

The actor, who will serve as a judge on Airbnb’s new Unique Airbnb Fund competition, insists he is not bothered by any criticism of the decision.

He told the PA news agency: “What other people think about me is not my business. A lot of people stand on the sidelines and like to talk stuff on people who are actually in the game. I’m in the game.

“I’m going to continue to be in the game and let whatever people think about me exist on the outside of me. Because I’m just going to keep doing me.”

Emmy Award-winning Porter, 50, will be on the judging panel for the Unique Airbnb Fund, a million-dollar (£775,000) pot to find and finance the “most unconventional and unusual liveable spaces on the planet”.

There will be 10 winners, with entrants judged on creativity, feasibility, sustainability and the potential for social good.

Porter – known for his eye-catching red carpet outfits – said he will be looking for self-expression in the entries.

Billy Porter
Billy Porter (Isabel Infantes/PA)

“Start with the things you like,” he advised hopefuls. “I always start with the statement piece. I like a statement piece, a focal point.

“In my bedroom I have a really colourful headboard and that was the jumping off point for me and everything else speaks to that focal point in the room. It’s really about self-expression.”

He praised online property broker Airbnb for including sustainability in the judging criteria.

He said: “I don’t know how to say it any stronger, science has proven and we have to pay attention because this planet will not be kind to the people we leave here, for our children.

“We have to make it sustainable for our children. So it’s the most important thing.”

The Unique Airbnb Fund is open to entries until 4.59am UK time on April 15. The winners will be selected by May 15.

Cinderella is set for release in February 2021.


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