Billy Porter is a bona-fide star — he is lightning and he is thunder and he is the rain that makes the earth a better, more vibrant place — and this entire interview with Essence is super. Please click over and devour it in full — there is also a great video — although I will give you the merest of appetizers:

“I chose myself over whatever might be,” he says, noting that choosing to “lean into” his truth led to a number of years of unemployment, and being on the brink of obscurity and bankruptcy. “But by taking myself out of the masculinity game, that literally turned my life around, and all of those layers were building blocks to the authentic human being you see in front of you who gives zero f–ks.“

When I actually leaned into my truth,” he adds, “this is what ultimately happened. Did it take two-plus decades? Yes, but it’s happening and this is my ministry.”

Also: I don’t know the logistics of how they did the shoot, in this era, but Porter’s stylist Jason Rembert told the story on Instagram of how his work on the cover outfit came to be:

This background makes the whole cover that much richer.