Lena Waithe wowed the world with her Met Gala look earlier this week. Wearing an LGBT Pride cape, she sashayed her way into the Catholicism-themed event with strength and defiance. But what hasn’t been touched upon in the media is that her Pride flag cape wasn’t like most Pride flags. Lena Waithe’s pride cape included a brown and black stripe, similar to the Pride flag introduced to the world by the people of Philadelphia last year.
“Tonight this cape is not imaginary, it’s rainbow-colored,” she said to Vogue on the red carpet. “And we got the black and brown, you know. I’m reppin’ my community, and I want everybody to know that you can be whoever you are, and be completely proud, and be doin’ it, so … wear the damn cape.”
Waithe’s cape was a variation on the placement of the black and brown stripes that were included in Philadelphia’s Pride flag last year, which was partially created by the city’s Executive Director of LGBT Affairs Amber Hikes.
“Less than a year ago, when we unveiled the #MoreColorMorePride flag, we watched as our LGBTQ community welcomed this symbol of greater inclusion and visibility,” Hikes tells Hornet. “Unfortunately, we also witnessed the familiar ugliness of prejudice as some members of our community attempted to silence the voices of people of color and dismiss their lived experiences.”
Hornet was one of the first outlets to report on the #MoreColorMorePride flag, and our article fueled many intense conversations as some thought the changes weren’t OK, while others embraced the diversity found in the flag with open arms.
“Since then, I’ve had a front row seat to the evolving response to the flag. It’s been both challenging and heartening to watch,” Hikes says. “We’ve seen people in our community across the country and the world finally begin having public conversations about explicit and implicit bias. I make the distinction that these conversations have become public because communities of color have always understood and discussed this issue. What we’re seeing more and more now is the LGBTQ community working in increasing solidarity on solutions to dismantle racism.”
Waithe donned the Philly Pride flag as a pin last month when she attended an LGBT event at Rutgers, showcasing her support of the flag with its inclusion of the two stripes. Hikes’ office tweeted a photo and gave a shout-out to Waithe.
But Waithe bringing a variation of that flag to an audience on the national level is especially profound, and has greatly moved Hikes.
“Witnessing Lena’s unapologetic pride in her queer and black identities play out on an international stage brought me to tears,” Hikes tells us. “Her fearless display proclaims ‘We are here, we are proud and we will not be ignored.’ It’s a declaration that resonates for LGBTQ people everywhere but has particular significance for LGBTQ people of color — people who have been erased from our larger narratives for far too long.”
“I’m eager to continue witnessing the growth of our community both in mainstream visibility and across intersections to embrace the experiences of LGBTQ people of color,” she says.