Billy Porter‘s new album Black Mona Lisa drops today and it could be his most personal album yet as it is a rich, nuanced narrative of Porter living his life authentically.
Porter worked alongside Andrea Martin and MNEK, as well as Grammy-nominated Justin Tranter. “I loved working with Justin because Justin is like me in the sense of being ‘a first of something’ — being queer and out in the music industry is a newer thing,” Porter told GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos in a recent interview. “There have been a lot of queer songwriters but there haven’t been a lot of openly queer femme songwriters who are standing in the fullness of their authenticity and not hiding any of that.”
The album includes the new version of “Children (What Time It Is) featuring Lady Blackbird. Other tracks include the titular “Black Mona Lisa” as well as singles “Baby Was A Dancer”, “Stranger Things”, and “Fashion”
After experiencing so much homophobia early in his career, Porter feels that Black Mona Lisa is a redemption of sorts.
“It’s very redemptive,” said Porter in regards to releasing an album that’s authentically him. “I told you winners write the history. Baby, I win.”
He refers to a lyric in most recent single, “Broke A Sweat”: “Everybody told me my queerness would be my liability and it was for decades and now it’s not! I win!”
The final track on the album, “Audacity” is the last song Porter wrote which has a specific kind of energy and spirituality. “It’s really about how we encourage ourselves; how we inspire ourselves; how we love ourselves enough to know that we are enough just as we are — period.”
He added, “It’s not about acceptance or tolerance to me. I don’t like either one of those words. It’s about the demand of the respect for our collective humanity. We are all human beings first.”
“Black Mona Lisa” is available now.