"It was truly an honor to perform alongside Stephen Stills," Billy Porter said of the performance

By Claudia Harmata
August 18, 2020 01:36 PM
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Billy Porter closed out the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Monday night with a powerful performance of Buffalo Springfield’s protest anthem, "For What It’s Worth."

As he sang, images of Black Lives Matter protest signs flashed behind Porter. During the virtual performance, the Pose actor, 50, was joined by the original songwriter Stephen Stills, who accompanied Porter on a guitar.

"It was truly an honor to perform alongside Stephen Stills as we performed 'What It’s Worth' for the Democratic National Convention," Porter tweeted Tuesday morning. 

Speaking to Variety, Stills — who wrote the original version of song as a member of Buffalo Springfield in the 1960s —raved about Porter's rendition of the track. (In April, Porter had released a remake of the 1966 anthem.)

"Billy did such a great cover of the song and I was [originally] going to sing with him on this one for the DNC,” Stills said. "But then I decided ‘Nah, its Billy’s record, so let him fly with it.' And also, my wifi is unreliable ... so I played guitar and sang along."

Billy Porter
Billy Porter/Youtube

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Porter worked with producer Zack Arnett last September on his remake of "For What It’s Worth," telling Rolling Stone that he wanted to preserve much of the original song while adding some of his own flavor, with a bit of R&B and hip-hop to it.

“I wanted to honor the original intention while holding on to who I am and where I come from,” he said.

"I knew I wanted to say something and it needed to be positive and hopeful, and I was just singing over the end," he added. "In the news cycle, I find there’s a lot of complaining and a lot of statements and observations, but not a lot of focus on how we change or address things. So I wanted to offer some hope. Yes, things are happening, but how do you change it for the good?"

Porter and Stills' concert was pre-recorded as the DNC opted to play it safe amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The event was originally planned to take place in Wisconsin, but all proceedings are now streaming virtually.

Monday was just night one, as the DNC is scheduled to take place through Thursday, before the Republican National Convention kicks off the following week. The four nights of programming (from 9 to 11 p.m. ET) include both pre-recorded segments and live broadcasts held from around the country.

Other musical performances slated in the coming days include Leon Bridges, The Chicks, Common, Billie Eilish, Jennifer Hudson and John Legend.