Watch: Lena Waithe Empowers Black Girls to Be Authentic Selves in Inspiring Acceptance Speech

The screenwriter, actress and producer was honored at Black Girls Rock! on Sunday.

Lena Waithe used her speech at this year’s Black Girls Rock! award ceremony to represent for gay black women everywhere.

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“I want to thank [founder] Beverly Bond and the entire team at Black Girls Rock! and everybody at BET,” Waithe said as she accepted the Shot Caller award. “I really want to thank y’all for reminding folks that gay black girls rock, too.”

The Emmy-winning entertainer also took time to discuss her recent decision to chop off all of her hair, telling the crowd she had kept it as a way to make people feel more comfortable with her gay identity.

“I was holding on to a piece of myself that felt feminine. And that piece of femininity made people feel comfortable,” the 34-year-old said. “But then I came to the realization that that’s not my job. I don’t have to make people feel comfortable with the way I choose to walk through the world. So I decided to get free. For me, it was hair. For you, it might be something else. But whatever it is, I want to encourage you to stop letting it hold you captive…I want you to get free of your narrative.”

Watch the moving speech below.


Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie and pop diva addict living in Manhattan. Follow him on everything @dirrtykingofpop.