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Met Gala 2019: How Lena Waithe used the red carpet to make a statement about LGBTQ+ fashion

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Lauren Geall
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Lena Waithe wearing her 2019 Met Gala look, a pinstripe suit

“I came to slay, b*tch,” the actress posted on her Instagram. 

It’s time to take cover: the Met Gala’s annual internet take over is well underway.

In response to this year’s ‘An Exploration of Camp’ theme, celebrities took to the pink carpet in a variety of bold and colourful looks: Lady Gaga stole the show with her four-style ensemble, and Zendaya’s Cinderella-esque entrance had us all mesmerised.

But alongside all of the feathers and fabric, Lena Waithe used her time on the Met Gala pink carpet to teach us all a lesson about the true origins of camp.

Walking the carpet alongside designer Kerby Jean Raymond of Pyer Moss, the actress and screenwriter wore a suit with pinstripes made up of the lyrics of Diana Ross’ iconic hit ‘I’m Coming Out,’ with the statement “Black Drag Queens Invented Camp” emblazoned across the back. 

Lena Waithe and Kerby Jean-Raymond at the 2019 Met Gala
Lena Waithe and Kerby Jean-Raymond on the pink carpet at the 2019 Met Gala

The message served to remind attendees that, ignoring the ways in which camp is being interpreted today, it was a style which originated within a minority group.

Speaking to E!, Waithe explained the thought behind her statement choice.

“Kerby Jean-Raymond came up with a design. We collaborated on really bringing a message,” she explained.

“To me, I really wanted to make sure my outfit represented the black drag queens who started this camp thing about being over the top and all that jazz.”

“[That includes] people like RuPaul,” she added. “All these pioneers who really started this whole thing and I really wanted to pay tribute to them.”

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Waithe isn’t one to shy away from making political statements. In response to last year’s theme, ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,’ she took to the carpet in a shimmering rainbow cape in a sign of solidarity for the LGBTQ+ community, who have traditionally been marginalised by the Catholic Church.

Taking to her Instagram to document the event, Waithe shared a series of images of herself walking the carpet, as well as sketches of the original designs. 

Underneath one of the images, which pictured the back of her suit as she looked out on the red carpet, Waithe wrote: “I came to slay, b*tch.”

We think it’s safe to say: mission accomplished. 

Images: Getty

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Lauren Geall

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