At the New Yorker Festival, Porter announced he'd be playing the character to much excitement. More details about the remake are yet to be released.
We get it, princess movies aren't the most progressive thing for your kids, especially young daughters, to watch. We're all concerned about the stereotypes that they build and perpetuate about women and the gender roles your children might feel compelled to fulfill because of them. While we may have grown up watching Disney classics like Snow White and The Little Mermaid, we know there's no reason to skew the current generation's ideas of gender through fairytales. Until now, that is. During the New Yorker Festival that took place over the weekend, Pose star and sass queen Billy Porter revealed that he is all set to play the Fairy Godmother in the upcoming live-action remake of the classic tale Cinderella. And here's why that's so imperative.
The move to cast Porter as the Fairy Godmother has been called "true casting magic" by Michelle Ruiz writing for Vogue. And we couldn't agree more. Given his sassy sashays on the hit TV show Pose, his time as Lola in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, and, of course, his unparalleled talent when it comes to acting, there's no one more perfect for the role. He's got a long list of theater features as well as a lengthy discography of hit music albums and singles. Though all these characteristics and achievements are important, it's his ability to challenge norms that is most significant.
For the feminist parent, that is, the one who dresses their daughter in neutral colors - "No pink unless we're subverting gender roles!" - or reads them Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, this is a move that makes them comfortable in their decision to watch Cinderella with their kids. More notably, however, Porter shows us that who we can be shouldn't be restricted by who we are. We are not our race, gender, or sexuality. To see that kind of confidence and comfort on-screen is a privilege I never had growing up, but I sure as heck want it to be available to the youngins after me. This can be the pivotal moment a boy learns he isn't defined by the rules or expectations of toxic masculinity. Or a child realizes they don't have to conform to the gender binary. Or a girl realizes she doesn't have to choose between feeling like a tomboy or a girly girl.
If you think back to your childhood, how many movies or storybooks represented women as whole characters? Now, of those women, how many were non-white? A handful of side characters, at best. If you grew up anywhere in the United States, your answer probably wouldn't surprise anyone. However, as we continue to move forward, we're saying, "No more." No more one-dimensional, drab characters - and no more unrepresentative actors to play them. That's why Porter's announcement is so momentous. Diversified casting is a small but important part of breaking stereotypes and challenging norms. And if anyone can challenge norms, it's definitely the gay black man who can strut in high heels and kill it in a two-piece suit. The gender binary is truly dead, folks. Good riddance.