Billy Porter is looking back on his journey as a musician.

The singer is about to embark on The Black Mona Lisa Tour: Volume One, which was part of his journey to becoming the “male Whitney Houston”.

“Music is the original gift. I started singing in church when I was five. I love theater and that was an original dream … but another one of my original dreams was to be the male Whitney Houston,” he told Sherri Shepherd on the latest episode of “Sherri”.

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It wasn’t an easy journey, however, especially as an openly gay Black musician.

“I got my first record contract, and my first album came out in 1997. And the industry was very homophobic at the time. And they kicked my gay behind out. And I can say it now. I can tell the truth now. Because we’re telling the truth now,” Porter recalled. “That’s what happened. And, I did it anyway. I went and did all of this other stuff, and now signed to one of the biggest labels in the business. And it’s all on my terms.”

Billy Porter – Photo Credit: SHERRI/Debmar-Mercury
Billy Porter – Photo Credit: SHERRI/Debmar-Mercury

While he managed to climb his way up to stardom despite the setbacks, he was also sure to acknowledge the people that helped him get there — including a familiar face for Shepherd.

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“I don’t know if you know this, but Jawn Murray [Executive Producer of Sherri] was a journalist at that time who was beside me every step of the way. There were several people at those positions at the time, who understood me and knew me. And Jawn would check up on me through the years. This is a good man,” the musician revealed. “One of the reasons I survived the trauma of that was because of angels like Jawn in my life. You know what I’m saying?”