Lena Waithe reveals the powerful reason she cut her hair

Lena Waithe wants someone 'black and funny' to host Oscars 2019

Lena Waithe received an outpouring of love and appreciation on social media after discussing the reason why she shaved off her locs.

The acclaimed actor, writer and producer attended the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual grants banquet in Beverly Hills, California, rocking the very, very short haircut she first debuted on Instagram in July.

At the time, she simply captioned the picture with the words “New tings” and crediting barberdolltheslayer for the look—but speaking to Variety on the event’s red carpet, Waithe opened up about what the decision meant for her.

Lena Waithe attends Lupus LA’s MBJAM presented by Michael B. Jordan at Dave & Buster’s on July 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California (Christopher Polk/Getty)

She described herself as “very much a lesbian, okay” and announced she has “gotten gayer, guys” before explaining the sense of freedom her new haircut has given her.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while” she said, “I felt like I was holding onto a piece of femininity that would make the world feel comfortable with who I am.

“I think I thought for a long time, ‘Oh, if I cut my hair, I’ll be a stud, I’ll be—in the gay world, there’s a lot of categories—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 is outside of me.’

“And I said ‘I’m going to do it and I cut it and I felt so free, so happy, so joyful and I really stepped into myself.

“And if people call me a butch or say ‘she’s stud’ or call me sir out in the world—so what? So be it.

“I’m here with a suit on, not a stitch of makeup, and a haircut—I feel like, ‘Why can’t I exist in the world in that way?’”

The short clip of the interview received thousands of reactions.

Honoree Lena Waithe accepts the MTV Trailblazer Award onstage during the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16, 2018 in Santa Monica, California (Kevin Winter/Getty for MTV)

TV personality Bevy Smith was one of the many who praised Waithe on Twitter. “This is the epitome of being truly comfortable & happy with yourself, kudos keep breaking down stereotypes” she wrote.

Waithe has been a trailblazing force in Hollywood. Last year, she became the first black queer woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing for the “Thanksgiving” episode in Netflix’s Master of None, co-written with Aziz Ansari, which explored her character Denise’s journey of exploring her sexuality and coming out to her family and friends.