Lena Waithe put on for queer black girls during Black Girls Rock.

The mind behind The Chi accepted the Shot Caller Award during the awards ceremony and addressed her now-famous haircut.

For Waithe, cutting off her locks was an emancipation.

“I was holding on to a piece of myself that felt feminine. And that piece of femininity made people feel comfortable,” she said. “But then I came to the realization that that’s not my job. I don’t have to make people feel comfortable with the way I choose to walk through the world. So I decided to get free.”

The writer, comedian and actress used the makeover as a metaphor to encourage the audience to free themselves of anything that keeps them in bondage and follow their dreams.

“For me, it was hair. For you, it might be something else. But whatever it is, I want to encourage you to stop letting it hold you captive … I want you to get free of your narrative,” Waithe said.

“Let’s get free of the idea that we can’t go after our dreams because of how we look, where we come from, who we love or how old we are. We all have gifts and we can either lock into those gifts or act like we don’t exist. You can’t live your dream if you don’t go after it.” 

Waithe ended the speech by thanking the organization for being inclusive and her fiancée, Alana Mayo, for being supportive. 

“I want to thank [founder] Beverly Bond and the entire team at Black Girls Rock and everybody at BET. I really want to thank y’all for reminding folks that gay black girls rock, too,” Waithe said, with presenter Ava DuVernay’s lipstick adorably plastered on her face.

Speaking of the lipstick, which smeared on Waithe's face when the director warmly embraced her while handing her the award, DuVernay revealed BET gave Waithe a chance to re-do the speech with a clean face but Master of None star declined.



“Backstage, they gave her the opportunity to remake the speech because of the lipstick,” DuVernay tweeted. “She said no. She said you can never get the true moment of the speech back if you do it twice. She’s real and honest like that all the time. An incredible spirit. #BlackGirlsRock.”

Waithe corroborated the story, saying the lipstick added to the moment.

“The [lipstick] mark is what made the speech so special,” she responded.

Watch the speech below:

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