Lena Waithe to Closeted LGBTQ Individuals: 'Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are'

Lena Waithe, the actress, producer and Emmy-award winning writer, has made a name for herself as an out-and-proud black gay woman taking Hollywood by storm. The actress is now encouraging others to embrace themselves as they are.

In her speech accepting the Ford Vanguard Award at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards on Saturday, Waithe said that her identity is not what is “revolutionary” about her. “Being born gay, black and female is not a revolutionary act,” she said. “Being proud to be a gay, black female is.”

Waithe asked anyone who was listening to her speech who still felt that they were “hiding” who they truly were to acknowledge and accept their truth. “I ask those of you that are still hiding to come out, come out wherever you are, please don’t be afraid,” she said. “And I hope that you know that I’m here to hold your hand whenever you decide to jump into this wonderful pool of people who refuse to be hidden.”

Waithe received an Emmy in Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on the “Thanksgiving” episode of the Netflix hit series Master of None. She also created the Showtime series The Chi, and is the creator, writer and executive producer of the upcoming TBS comedy series Twenties.

Watch Waithe’s full remarks here: