Lena Waithe dedicates MTV Movie Award to the creators of ‘shade’
Lena Waithe gave us all an important LGBT history lesson by giving thanks to the creators of “shade” and “reading” at the MTV Movie Awards.
On Monday, the 34-year-old screenwriter, producer and actor was honoured with the Trailblazer Award at the MTV Movie Awards.
During her acceptance speech, Waithe said she was “elated” to be given the award, saying: “I’m extremely grateful that you guys see me in that light.”
She then took the opportunity to shine a light on other less well-known LGBT trailblazers.
Waithe said: “I believe the only reason why I’m even allowed to stand here is because of a few other trailblazers that some of you might not be aware of.”
The Master of None star thanked several LGBT “pioneers” including some of the stars of Paris Is Burning, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, Angie Xtravaganza, and Willi Ninja.
“Tonight, I want to share this award with them,” Waithe said.
“I want to do what we as a society should have done a long time ago, and that’s give them the glory and the shine they deserve.
“Every time someone says “shade” or talks about “reading” or decides to just “serve face, please look up to the sky and give thanks.”
She added: “They strutted through a brick wall so we didn’t have to.”
Paris is Burning shed light on the underground world of drag, tracking the New York City ball culture of the 1980s.
The culture-defining documentary tackled problems related to racism, homophobia, AIDS and poverty, and introduced the world to concepts from ‘voguing’ to gay lingo like ‘realness’ and ‘shade.’
Although many people know and use these terms that also includes ‘serving face’, the origin and history of them can sometimes be forgotten in mainstream LGBT culture.
Waithe is best known for her work on the Netflix series Master Of None where she both acts and writes for the show.
Her most recent project is a new series called Twenties which will focus on a “queer black girl called Hattie and her two straight best friends.”
In May, Waithe made headlines after she stunned at the Met Gala with a full-length rainbow cape.
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Many praised the multi-talented Waithe for making a political statement with the outfit at the Catholic-themed event.
The Emmy award winner told onlookers at the high-fashion event: “It’s like my skin.
“I’m proud to be in it and put the community on my back to make sure they know I got ’em all the time.”
Waithe, who became the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing last year for her episode of Master of None, interpreted the famed Gala’s theme as “just be yourself.”