‘The numbers don’t add up’: Lena Waithe is encouraging black gay actors to come out

Jasmine Andersson March 15, 2018
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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)


Lena Waithe knows what she’s talking about.

The actor, who really came into her own as Denise in Master of None, has got a few poignant phrases to offer about queer black visibility in the acting world.

Appearing on The View with Whoopi Goldberg, the Master of None actor said that she couldn’t deny her sexuality is the glaring eye of Hollywood, and wants other gay black actors to feel comfortable doing the same.

“The amount of gay black people in Hollywood… you can count them on one or two hands,” said Waithe.

“The numbers don’t add up.”

“It’s like me, Wanda, Ru, Titus… I think a lot of us don’t want to be public about it, and say ‘well that’s my private life.’ But I think honestly, we have to be a bit of a beacon of light for kids of colour, who are thinking ‘am I weird? Is something wrong with me? What quality of life might I have?’.

“I mean, I don’t think of what I’m doing as very revolutionary. I don’t know how to not be gay as hell. That is who I am!”

Waithe’s poignant appearance as Denise in the show has been one of the most relatable stories on screen in recent times.

Cataloguing Denise’s emerging lesbian identity and how her mother perceived her sexuality, the episode struck a chord with millions of Netflix viewers.

She continued, “I wanna be here to hold somebody’s hand and be supportive. The more of us there are… also for black folks in the community for them to see… we’re made up of the same stuff.”

Waithe’s latest show, The Chi, follows characters forming their lives in Waithe’s hometown in the South Side of Chicago.

“The community I grew up in Chicago was very much a village!” the actor said on the show.

“We policed ourselves.”

More: entertainment, Lena Waithe, Master of None, US, US

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