Lena Waithe is constantly bringing visibility to what a ‘Black gay girl’ looks like, whether she’s at the MTV Movie Awards honouring Shirley Chisholm (the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination) or smirking at her detractors on the cover of Vanity Fair. And while she doesn’t rely on just her physical appearance to bring about change, at Monday's Met Gala, Waithe took the opportunity to honour other groundbreaking Black femmes with her look.
Black culture has been noticeably absent from this year's theme, “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on Camp. She once described camp as a “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration… style at the expense of content.”
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We had the honor or collaborating with @pyermoss for this years #metgala. We designed 16 custom Iconic sculpture portrait buttons and black power fist cuff links to adorn @kerbito and @lenawaithe’s suits. On Kerby: 8 of his favorite rappers — the late and great @nipseyhussle, @meekmill, @nas, @realcoleworld, @champagnepapi, #tupac, @kendricklamar and #jayz. On Lena: 8 LGBTQ icons — @rupaulofficial , #doriancorey , #freddiependavis , #octaviastlaurent #ParisDupree #pepperlabeija #venusxtravaganza and #willieninja . Thank you @kerbito + @pyermoss ✨👊🏾. #metgala2019 #jewelrybyjohhnny
The stripes on Waithe's suit were actually lyrics: Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out" and Sylvester's "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)." Her Johnny Nelson jewelry buttons featured the faces of LGBTQ icons RuPaul, Dorian Corey, Freddie Pendavis, Octavia St. Laurent, Paris Dupree, Pepper LaBeija, Venus Xtravaganza, and Willi Ninja. Jean-Raymond, who accompanied her on the carpet, wore a suit with lyrics from Nipsey Hussle, 2Pac, Jay Z, Nas, Drake, Meek Mill, J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar. The rappers' faces also showed up on buttons.
Jean-Raymond had a message of his own on the back of his suit: “Fix your credit. Pool money. Buy back the block” — a Nipsey Hussle lyric. And so, with looks that intentional, there was some confusion about the spelling of "invented" on the back of Waithe's jacket.
She took to Twitter to clear the air. "Everything I do is purposeful," she wrote on Tuesday in response to someone tweeting "Am I the only one to assume @LenaWaithe's #inventend was purposeful and not a mistake?"
She explained it further in a separate tweet, writing "First there was “Periodt” ... and Kerby and I wanted to give y’all another one “Inventend” — which we take to mean a heavy emphasis on the "D." Kind of like Black femmes did that.