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Unprotected : a memoir
Click for more information  Eaudiobook
Rating:4.1 stars
Publication date:2021


"This is not a coming-out story. It's not a down-low story either. I never could have passed for straight, even if I'd wanted to, and so I never had the dubious luxury of living a lie." From the incomparable Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award winner, a powerful and revealing autobiography about race, sexuality, art, and healing It's easy to be yourself when who and what you are is in vogue. But growing up Black and gay in America has never been easy. Before Billy Porter was slaying red carpets and giving an iconic Emmy-winning performance in the celebrated TV show Pose; before he was the groundbreaking Tony and Grammy Award–winning star of Broadway's Kinky Boots; and before he was an acclaimed recording artist, actor, playwright, director, and all-around legend, Porter was a young boy in Pittsburgh who was seen as different, who didn't fit in. At five years old, Porter was sent to therapy to "fix" his effeminacy. He was endlessly bullied at school, sexually abused by his stepfather, and criticized at his church. Porter came of age in a world where simply being himself was a constant struggle. Billy Porter's Unprotected is the life story of a singular artist and survivor in his own words. It is the story of a boy whose talent and courage opened doors for him, but only a crack. It is the story of a teenager discovering himself, learning his voice and his craft amid deep trauma. And it is the story of a young man whose unbreakable determination led him through countless hard times to where he is now; a proud icon who refuses to back down or hide. Porter is a multitalented, multifaceted treasure at the top of his game, and Unprotected is a resonant, inspirational story of trauma and healing, shot through with his singular voice.

AudioFile Magazine
Since voice is central to this gripping audio memoir by award-winning performer Billy Porter, it's only fitting that it's narrated by the author himself. With his inimitable rasp and vocal flexibility, Porter tells of his family, childhood, and career, leading up to his eventual star turns in Broadway's KINKY BOOTS and TV's "Pose." His narration is both intimate and highly performative: While notes of pain and panic permeate his descriptions of violence, sexual abuse, and the endless barriers he faced as a Black, gay man in entertainment, further recollections are infused with humor, theatricality, and snippets of song. Porter repeatedly refers to his voice as both savior and weapon, but with this audiobook he proves that it's also the ideal medium for sharing his truth. R.A.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
Library Journal

August 1, 2022

Porter is an actor and singer who has won Tony, Grammy, and Emmy awards. To the public, his talent propelled him to the top, but Porter's memoir is about the rough road that he travelled to get there, in a world stacked against him as a gay Black man. As a young child, his voice was celebrated by the church his family attended, but that same church shunned him for his differences. Porter was bullied and beaten, and his stepfather sexually abused him, leaving him no refuge. Despite this, a powerful voice and a talent for auditioning helped him gain admission to the prestigious Carnegie Mellon Drama program. Porter's relentless work ethic kept him going through the vicissitudes of his career: a dream role in Kinky Boots, bankruptcy, HIV, and an award-winning turn in the television series Pose. Porter is the perfect narrator for the audiobook, telling his amazing story in his singular and magnetic voice. VERDICT Recommended for fans of Porter or the arts, and those who appreciate stories of overcoming obstacles.--Cynthia Jensen

Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publisher's Weekly

Starred review from August 16, 2021
Broadway and television star Porter lays bare his traumatic upbringing and path toward healing in his revelatory debut. He writes in an intimate, conversational style, leaping from past to present and pairing his reflections on growing up gay in the 1970s with living through the AIDS epidemic and the deep pain and fear of the Trump presidency and Covid-19 pandemic. Those who know Porter from his Grammy and Emmy award–winning roles in Kinky Boots and the TV show Pose will relish the insider look at those productions and marvel at the tribulations Porter overcame to get there—from his sexual abuse by his stepfather to the racism and homophobia he encountered in the entertainment world. Just as captivating are the ways in which Porter advocated for himself—“I will be singing everything up the octave until this issue is resolved,” he told directors in response to being asked to sing in a key below his register—earning him a “difficult” reputation among white gatekeepers in the industry and leading him to fight harder for space on the stage. Haunting and inspirational, this is both a powerful indictment of the lasting harms of bigotry and an immensely moving account of moving forward. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.

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