Why Lena Waithe’s Met Gala Look Is So Important

Why Lena Waithe’s Met Gala Look Is So Important

The rainbow flag is always a welcome statement, but at this year's Met Gala, it held significantly more weight.

The rainbow flag is always a welcome statement, but at this year's Met Gala, it held significantly more weight.

Text: Jake Viswanath

The world always needs more statements of pride. As the LGBT community continues to face constant oppression and injustices worldwide, seeing people embrace their sexualities loud and proud is always a comforting sight. The rainbow flag never goes out of style, something that Lena Waithe took into major consideration when planning her look for last night's Met Gala. Rather than a dramatic train attached to a classic ballgown, the Master of None star infused pride in her dramatic look, donning a black Carolina Herrera suit with a flowing rainbow cape.

On the Met Gala red carpet, the sight of an actress flaunting her pride as a queer black woman is already an important and awe-inspiring statement—her cape even included black and brown stripes, two colors added to the Pride flag by Amber Hikes to include queer people of color. But this year, considering the Met Gala's theme, "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination", seeing a rainbow flag on the red carpet was significantly more empowering.

The Catholic church has a long past of rejecting and outright bashing homosexuality. The church historically teaches that marriage is only between a man and a woman, taking the position that same-sex unions are potentially harmful for children and that homosexual acts "go against the natural moral law," among other reprehensible statements. While Pope Francis and certain Catholic advisers are slowly starting to push for a more inclusive church, more work needs to be done for religious acceptance of the LGBT community across the board.

By proudly sporting the rainbow flag, Waithe gives a fashion-forward (figurative) middle finger to homophobia in the church on a night that was supposed to be celebrating them while bringing a more progressive conversation back into the spotlight. The sight of Pride symbol surrounded by religious imagery in a positive way is one that's truly rare, hitting close to home for closeted kids of all genders and sexualities that grew up under religious scrutiny and pressure. Waithe brought an all too powerful sign of unity to the Met Gala, using their theme to make a statement that transcends what the Gala is typically known to represent. Perhaps it's the start of a wave of messages to come on the famous steps of the Met.

LENA WAITHE IN CAROLINA HERRERA

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