Lena Waithe, who I’m sure you know (Vanity Fair writer Jacqueline Woodson starts out the piece, “If you haven’t heard of Lena Waithe, check yourself for a pulse.”) is on the cover of Vanity Fair, photographed by the iconic Annie Leibovitz. New editor-in-chief Radhika Jones, picked actress, producer, screenwriter and activist powerhouse Waithe as her first cover story for April. This is a huge moment for Black queer visibility.
Haters will say it’s photoshopped. But for real. This is a moment I will never forget. I am overflowing with gratitude. Thank you, @radhikajones, for choosing me to be your first cover girl. Thank you, #Annie, for capturing me so beautifully and honestly. Last but not least – thank you @jacqueline_woodson, for being my kindred spirit and for your eloquent words. #LetsBlackPantherThisIssue #ImCountingOnMyPlayCousinsToBuyMultipleCopies
Waithe is her true self on the cover, not made up, in a white t-shirt and gold chain. (I can’t stop swooning TBH.) She was styled by Jessica Diehl, but she looks so effortlessly herself, she’d probably have styled herself the same way.
Pulled from the deeply personal and riveting interview:
And still, this evening, as Lena and I talk across the table, over her truffle pasta and Sprite, and my burger and Cabernet, a deep reverence comes over us. Here we are now because Baldwin was there then. And I think about the young people who ran to their screens to watch Lena’s Master of None episode in which her character came out to her mother. How social media blew up with her thank-you speech at the Emmys. (“I love you all and, last but certainly not least, my L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. family. . . . The things that make us different, those are our superpowers.”) How her work is part of a continuum of people doing their work.
“How has the Emmy changed me? It got me all these meetings that I go in and say I’m too busy to work with you—you should have hollered at me. You can take my call when I call you about this black queer writer over here who’s got a dope pilot, or this person over here who’s got really cool ideas, or this actress who’s really amazing but nobody’s seen her.”
Because we both know that, even as Hollywood’s doors are being shaken, there is still so much work left to be done.”
Fans and celebrities alike have recognized the significance of Waithe’s cover and interview.
Dear @RadhikaJones, You’re changing the game by centering this game-changer on the @VanityFair cover. You’ve done something big here. Something bold. I’m excited by you. And grateful for this powerful image of our sister warrior, the great @LenaWaithe. Who we hold so dear. Brava. pic.twitter.com/l2hOssvgo8
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 22, 2018
You can read the full cover story, and feast your eyes on more strikingly beautiful photos of Waithe here.