Billy Dee Williams, known for his roles in "Mahogany" and "Star Wars," revealed in an interview that he sees himself as "feminine as well as masculine."
In a recent profile interview with Esquire magazine, Williams, 82, talked about his openness to seeing himself as gender-fluid or what is also known as nonbinary, which indicates an individual does not exclusively identify as either masculine or feminine, according to transequality.org. Williams has been married to Teruko Nakagami since 1972. In the interview, he never implicitly identified himself as nonbinary.
"You see, I say ‘himself' and ‘herself,' because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine," Williams told Esquire. "I'm a very soft person. I'm not afraid to show that side of myself."
"I think of myself as a relatively colorful character who doesn't take himself or herself too seriously," Williams said.
In 2018, Jonathan Kasdan, writer of the "Star Wars" sequel "Solo," revealed that Williams' legendary character Lando Calrissian was pansexual, according to The New York Times. In the 2018 film, metro Atlanta's Donald Glover played the role of Calrissian.
During the last year, musicians and actors have come out as nonbinary, including Asia Kate Dillon, who starred in Showtime's "Billions" and "Stay with Me" singer Sam Smith.
"Today is a good day so here goes," Smith wrote in an Instagram post. "I've decided I am changing my pronouns to they/them after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out."
Williams, who has been considered a debonair sex symbol for decades, created quite the buzz with his comments in the Esquire video.
Williams did not directly respond to the reactions to his announcement, but he shared a tweet of thanks on Thanksgiving Day.
He will reprise his role as Lando in the upcoming "The Rise of Skywalker," the final installment of the Skywalker saga. Beyond unveiling his openness about gender, the actor and former Colt45 spokesman reflected on how playing Lando opened doors for him and new superhero stars including The Rock and Jamie Foxx. According to Esquire, Lando marked the inclusion of "a complex Black character" in a genre that still remains "notoriously white."
Williams said he wasn't sure if "The Rise of Skywalker," which premieres Dec. 20, will be the last sighting of Lando Calrissian.
"It's a conclusion—certainly it depends on how much money is generated. That's when they determine where's the conclusion," he says with a wink. "The one thing about show business, you can resurrect anything."
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