Lena Waithe is shedding some light on how she believes segregation and desegregation impacted her mother’s journey to acceptance of having a gay daughter.
Speaking candidly with LeBron James, Mary J. Blige and a few other familiar faces on the latest episode of James’ new HBO series The Shop, the Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and actress went into brief detail about the Black family’s continued struggle to accept LGBT relatives.
“Masculine-presenting lesbians don’t see themselves a lot,” Waithe said. “It’s just such not a part of, I think, Black families’ thought process. They don’t think about it. The word doesn’t even come up until you have to say it out loud and you’re almost frustrated that you [have to]. I was frustrated that I even had to come out. I was like, ‘What did y’all think this was?’ But…you do.”
Delving even deeper, Waithe shared that she believes her own mother’s initial struggles with accepting the fact that her daughter was a lesbian were connected to the mentality she’d developed during the early post-segregation era.
“My mom was born in 1953, which [means]—as I always try to remind people—that she was born into a segregated America. And…we’re not that far away from that,” she continued. “So, for her, what it meant to be a good Black person was to not make white people uncomfortable. And, I think me being gay made her feel like, ‘Oh, you gon’ make white folks real uncomfortable.'”
Waithe also spoke about the reality of diversity in Hollywood and being intentional about using her platform to impact change through her words, her art and her advocacy. Check out the full episode of The Shop on HBO.