Lena Waithe Met Gala 2019 Pyer Moss
photo: Instagram/PyerMoss

There are some celebrities who use every moment to show society how much bigger than them their work is. Actress, writer, producer, and superwoman Lena Waithe is one of those people. Her brilliance is something that can't be denied, and it seems like everything she's a part of is for the betterment of others and for society. 

So when she stepped on the Met Gala carpet Monday evening, she did it wearing a suit that conveyed a bold message loud and clear: "Black drag queens are the originators of camp," and it's about time they get the recognition they deserve. 

Last night's theme of camp meant a whole lot more than just large dresses and exaggerated hair.

A night dedicated to an affinity for the extra, the gala featured attendees who arrived in dresses that were larger than life, with hair as high as the sky itself, and with makeup that could stand up against the most extravagant Broadway show. However, for actress, writer, and producer Lena Waithe, camp meant something so much more than that. 

Waithe took the opportunity to pay respects to the true inspirations and game changers of the evening: black drag queens.

They originated what camp aspires to be. Wearing a blue pin-striped suit that read "Black Drag Queens Invented Camp," Waithe made a major statement on the red carpet drawing attention to the forgotten heroes and creators of dramatic makeup, hair, and costumes on main stages.

Black drag queens were unfortunately excluded from the camp explanation provided by the event.

With the theme being inspired by Susan Sontag's essay Notes on Camp, none of the 58 definitions that were created in 1964 included the black LGBTQ community, something that's received pushback since the theme was announced months ago. 

Waithe walked the carpet alongside black designer and Pyer Moss founder Kerby Jean-Raymond. 

The young designer, who's gained national praise not only for his designs but also for his commitment to the black community and beyond, was the perfect designer and date for Waithe, who's no stranger to using her platform to stand with minorities. 

This is far from the first or the last time Waithe has used or will use her fashion to make a political statement.

She arrived at the 2018 pink carpet donning a rainbow cape in support of the LGBTQ+ community, boldly standing up for black queers and advocating for the acceptance of queer communities in more spaces in Hollywood. 

And while Laithe's suit last night emphasized the important role black drag queens have played, Raymond's paid another kind of homage. 

"Fix Your Credit, Pool Money, Buy Back The Block," read Raymond's suit, which was a tribute to fallen rapper Nipsey Hussle, who stood firmly on his belief that black people needed to take back gentrified communities by investing the black dollar in black businesses and real estate. 

And by the end of the night, many had confused Raymond for Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman.

"All the kids in the street were yelling 'Chadwick!!!' I threw up the Wakanda arm thing tho," joked Raymond, who, to some, resembled Boseman with a newfound beard and mustache. 

The simple yet impactful suits were the real stars of the evening. 

While people like James Charles, who have made a living capitalizing off black drag queens, walked the carpet proudly, it was disappointing that the real creators of camp received little recognition. And even if they weren't going to be recognized as those who were at the forefront of the movement, the least the Met could have done was mention them at all. 

The night at as a whole seemed extremely void of intersectional diversity. 

There was something about the Met this year that seemed even less diverse than past years. There was a lack of black LGBTQ representation, ironic considering the abundance of non-POC queer people that were present, many of whom were influencers and not even Hollywood celebrities, thus making the message of Waithe's outfit that much more relevant. 

Next year, we're looking forward to another bold move from Waithe.

When you have a platform as large as Waithe's, it's imperative to use it for the betterment of society and the progression of oppressed groups. She's done that every year, and each time the message is loud and clear. So going forward, we hope that the contributions of blacks will be better recognized by events such as the Met Gala. And given that it's 2019, and the influence blacks have on society and culture can no longer be denied, it's long past due.