Billy Porter thinks he needed to win awards in order to be ''taken seriously''.

The 50-year-old actor - who has won numerous accolades during his career, including a Tony Award for his role in 'Kinky Boots' - thinks recognition is more important to performers like himself than to his ''white counterparts''.

Speaking to Collider, Billy explained: ''I'm the kind of person where I learned early on that with as much as awards are good for this little gay boy, you know, it's different for me than it is for my white counterparts.

''They don't need them. I actually need them so that I can be taken seriously. I actually need them so people will pay attention to me.''

Billy thinks awards can be career-changing for people from minority groups.

Despite this, Billy believes that his hit TV series 'Pose' - which explores New York City's African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming ballroom culture scene - is proof that progress is being made within the entertainment industry.

The actor explained: ''It gives me power in a space where I have been powerless for so long. You know, we just have to stay focused on the work.

''We are making headway, the fact that 'Pose' exists at all. You know, I'm so grateful to have lived long enough to see that day.

'''Pose'? There's no context for that for me. It was never an option for me. That was not an option for me.''