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Billy Porter Criticizes Harry Styles' Vogue Cover Once More, Refers to Anna Wintour in Strong Terms

by Kyla Cruz

Billy Porter has revisited his criticisms of Harry Styles' Vogue cover, despite previously apologizing for his initial comments, and also didn't hold back in his assessment of Anna Wintour, referring to her as a "bitch."

In an interview with the Telegraph, the 53-year-old "Pose" star expressed his continued disapproval of Vogue's decision to feature Styles on their cover as a representative of genderfluid and non-binary fashion in 2020. Porter, an openly gay individual, directed his criticism towards the gatekeepers of the industry rather than Styles himself, recognizing that Styles is a product of the existing framework.

Image Credit: Santiago Felipe / Contributor / Getty Images

Porter questioned the motivations behind Styles' selection, suggesting that his race, appearance, and sexual orientation played a significant role in his choice as the cover star. He challenged the notion that Styles' portrayal on the cover truly aligned with the values of the non-binary movement, stating that the use of his community to elevate Styles felt exploitative and inauthentic.

The "Cinderella" star also addressed his previous conversation with Anna Wintour, where he advocated for the promotion of the "de-gendering of fashion movement" within Vogue. Despite their conversation, Styles was subsequently featured on the cover, marking the first time an individual man appeared alone on the cover of American Vogue. Porter criticized Wintour's decision, recounting his desire for Vogue to use its power to uplift the authentic voices leading the movement.

In his candid interview, Porter referred to Wintour as a "bitch," describing an interaction in which he conveyed his hopes for the magazine's direction, only to see Styles on the cover later. He expressed his frustration at not fully articulating his stance to Wintour at the time.

Porter's initial criticism of Styles' groundbreaking cover was rooted in his own trailblazing journey. He highlighted his role in challenging norms within the fashion industry and making space for gender-fluid expressions. He expressed skepticism towards the fashion industry's acceptance of him, indicating that the industry's embrace was more out of necessity than genuine understanding.

Styles' Vogue cover, which saw him wearing a Gucci gown, prompted Porter's earlier comments about the singer's use in representing a new conversation. He emphasized that his critique was directed towards the magazine's choice rather than Styles personally.

Porter's previous comments sparked a media firestorm, leading to him issuing an apology to Styles. On "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," Porter clarified that his critique was not directed at Styles himself, but rather at the larger systems of oppression and erasure faced by people of color within the industry.

The complex interplay between identity, representation, and fashion's cultural influence continues to be a topic of conversation and contention. Billy Porter's candid reflections highlight the ongoing efforts within the industry to redefine norms, confront biases, and uplift marginalized voices. As fashion navigates these discussions, it's evident that the dialogue is a multifaceted one, touching on both individual representation and broader systemic change.


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