Lena Waithe Explains Why She Decided to Cut Off Her Locs

For many Black women, hair is tied to identity. Award-winning screenwriter and actress Lena Waithe said queer stereotypes prevented her from cutting her hair, until now.


“I felt like I was holding onto a piece of femininity that would make the world feel comfortable with who I am,” Waithe said on the red carpet for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual banquet.

“I think I thought for a long time, ‘Oh, if I cut my hair, 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.'”

After making history as the first Black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing for the “Thanksgiving” episode of Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None,” which was based on her experience of revealing her identity as a lesbian, she has made the point that the Black LGBTQ community lives to please others out of fear and that many are “still hiding.”

In a speech at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards, she said, “Being a gay, Black female is not a revolutionary act. Being proud to be a gay, Black female is.”

Waithe created “The Chi,” and recently set a first-look deal at Showtime. She is also set to produce a comedy series for HBO from Kid Fury, and will executive produce two seasons of anthology series “Them” for Amazon. Waithe hopes to inspire diversity in the entertainment field.

At the Emmy’s she said: “The things that make us different — those are our superpowers.”

Speaking to her LGBTQIA family, she encouraged those who felt like outsiders to mainstream to “go out there and conquer the world. It would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it.”

“There’s so many other funny women of color. I hope they will now have an opportunity because this door has been opened.”

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