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Lena Waithe has given an incredibly inspiring speech calling on people to come out

Josh Jackman March 6, 2018
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 01: Honoree Lena Waithe speaks onstage during the 2018 Essence Black Women In Hollywood Oscars Luncheon at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on March 1, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Essence)

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Lena Waithe has given an incredible speech urging LGBT people to “come out, come out wherever you are – please don’t be afraid.”

Waithe, who became the first black woman to win an Emmy for Comedy Writing last year after her amazing episode of Master of None, criticised those who were “still hiding” their true selves.

Speaking at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards after receiving the Ford Vanguard Award, the proudly gay actress, producer and writer paid tribute to her fiance, who she called “the love of my life”.

(YouTube/ESSENCE)

“My fiance Alana Mayo spends more time thinking about how to make the world a better place than she does about anything else. I love you with my whole body,” she said.

“Every day, I thank God that I get to walk through this thing called life with you. And I’m glad I can do that – profess my love to the love of my life out loud, in front of all of you.”

The 33-year-old, who is creating a new show about a queer black woman for TBS, continued: “Who knew that in 2018, that would still be considered a revolutionary act.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 01: Lena Waithe (L) and Yvonne Orji onstage during the 2018 Essence Black Women In Hollywood Oscars Luncheon at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on March 1, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Essence)
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“So many of our black, gay, lesbian, queer and trans foremothers and forefathers and those who never felt comfortable with either gender had to hide.

“They made sure not to look at each other too long in the cotton fields. They were forced to hide in plain sight at the March on Washington, even though they were the brains behind it,” she added.

“They had to prevent their truth from bleeding onto the typewriters when they when they wrote about what it meant to be black and human in Harlem in the 1920s.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 01: Honoree Lena Waithe (L) and Presenter Angela Bassett speak onstage during the 2018 Essence Black Women In Hollywood Oscars Luncheon at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on March 1, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Essence)
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“When they were killed by homophobic hands, they tried not to scream too loud, so as to not bring shame or embarrassment to their families or their race.

“Even in death, they hid. They were forced to hide with hopes that one day we wouldn’t have to, and now look at us,” she continued, turning her attentions to her peers who have not come out.

“Still hiding. Hiding because we don’t want to lose an endorsement deal.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 01: (L-R) Honorees Tessa Thompson, Lena Waithe, Tiffany Haddish and Danai Gurira onstage during the 2018 Essence Black Women In Hollywood Oscars Luncheon at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on March 1, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Essence )
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“Hiding because we want to be normal. Hiding because we don’t want to make white folks feel uneasy.

“But most of all,” she added, “hiding because we don’t want to make our own people feel uncomfortable.”

To loud applause, she said: “Being born gay, black and female is not a revolutionary act. Being proud to be a gay, black female is.

“If I was busy hiding I wouldn’t be standing here before you today.

Lena Waithe with her Emmy
(Photo by TIBRINA HOBSON/AFP/Getty Images)

“If I was still hiding, I would be a shell of a human being. There would be a vacant look in my eyes and a melancholy in my spirit.

Waithe added that for girls who, like she used to be, were “little lesbians in training,” it was her “job to show them that not only is it completely normal to be gay or bi or trans or non-binary – but it is a gift from God.”

She told the audience, which included stars like Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya and Angela Bassett, to be proud and open with their sexual and gender identities.

Master of None's Lena Waithe
(Getty)

“I ask those of you who are still hiding to come out, come out wherever you are, please don’t be afraid,” she said.

“And I hope that you know that I’m here to hold your hand whenever you decide to jump into this wonderful pool of people who refuse to be hidden.”

Watch Lena’s incredible speech here:

More: coming out, entertainment, Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards, Lena Waithe, Oscars, US, US

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