“I’ve gotten gayer, guys,” Emmy Award winner Lena Waithe joked about her new haircut on the red carpet of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual grants banquet Thursday.
The Chi creator talked about the significance of cutting her hair short and how she had wanted the change for a while.
“I felt like I was holding onto a piece of femininity that would make the world feel comfortable with who I am,” Waithe said. “I think I thought for a long time, ‘Oh, if I cut my hair, I’ll be a stud, I’ll be—in the gay world, there’s a lot of categories—I’ll be a stud or I’ll be a butch,’ and I’ve always thought, ‘Well, no, I’m not that, I’m still soft.’ And I said, ‘Oh, I gotta put that down ’cause that’s something that’s outside of me.’”
Other celebs came out in support of Waithe’s decision. Mindy Kaling tweeted, “Good morning, @LenaWaithe, you always have the best answers.” Laverne Cox also shared her compliments, reposting Variety’s link with, “I love you @LenaWaithe. You look fly AF”
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) August 10, 2018
Waithe actually announced her hair cut three weeks ago, with she posted a photo to Instagram with the caption, “New tings”. In a follow-up Instagram Story, she flashed a peace sign with the caption, “Gay as fuck.” For the LGBTQ+ community, cutting your hair is more than a fashion choice, as Jamilah King wrote for Teen Vogue.
Waithe’s comments about her haircut signal something else about queerness that we often feel, but rarely say aloud: many of us are bound by conventional ideas of gender even after we have come out. Lena Waithe is no less of a woman without her hair. Waithe’s comments about her struggle with her hair shows that even the proudest among us have to work to not see ourselves through the eyes of hatred and bigotry.
The Master of None star made history in 2017 as the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing for her work on the show’s “Thanksgiving” episode. She’s also set to produce a comedy series for HBO from Kid Fury and, in January, it was confirmed that The Chi was renewed for Season 2.