By Sandra Rose  | 

Janelle Monae Lena Waithe Tessa Thompson

Director Lena Waithe (pictured center) called for her colleagues to come out of the closet at the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood luncheon on Thursday. Rumors have swirled for months that singer/actress Janelle Monáe, left, and actress Tessa Thompson, right, are secretly dating.

Waithe, 33, who is openly gay, won an Emmy for the Thanksgiving episode of Master of None, and she is the creator of Showtime's TV drama “The Chi", filmed in her native Southside Chicago.

At the awards luncheon, Waithe spoke to the actresses in the audience who she says are "hiding" because they want to be seen as "normal".

L-R: Tessa Thompson, Lena Waithe, Janelle Monáe, Tiffany Haddish, Danai Gurira, Yvonne Orji

Waithe urged the ladies to open the closet door and come out.

“Being born gay, black and female is not a revolutionary act. Being proud to be a gay black female is," she said to wild applause.

Waithe continued:

"So I ask those of you that are still hiding to come out. Come out, wherever you are, please don’t be afraid. And I hope that you know that I’m here to hold your hand whenever you decide to jump into this wonderful pool of people who refuse to be hidden. The water is warm.”

USA Today notes that those clapping included "Janelle Monáe, who introduced Essence honoree Tessa Thompson, and honorees Tiffany Haddish and Black Panther's Danai Gurira."

Janelle featured Tessa prominently in her music video for her single "Make Me Feel", which dropped on Feb. 22.

Photos by Rich Polk/Getty Images, Leon Bennett/Getty Images

  • Soda

    What if they feel like their sexual preference is none of her business?

  • E-VannaRootsAllEvil

    I hope rick Ross doing ok

  • bemetoo

    Rick Ross on life support

  • hottlanta

    I was reading Waithe speech she made and she said she wanted to be a role model for LESBIANS IN TRAINING. I had to go back and read it again to make sure that is what I read. Wow if I told someone that they were a lesbian in training as if they haven't come up to the definition of a full lesbian who has passed all of her training classes all hell would break loose.

  • hottlanta

    No!!!! Thanks and keep us posted.

  • bemetoo

    Yes he's on a machine getting oxygen

  • Chuck

    These dykes and fags are going to hell.


    let people live how they want

  • hottlanta

    Here is the part when she said it. I was like wow.
    Waithe also expanded on the fear and obstacles the Black LGBT community faced in the past, as well as those they still they face today, including the struggle to make white and Black people feel comfortable.

    "They were forced to hide in hopes that one day we wouldn't have to and now look at us, still hiding. Being a gay Black female is not a revolutionary act," she continued. "Being proud to be a gay Black female is."

    Reflecting on the importance of her Emmy win, Waithe added, "It’s not just my job to make art... but to be a shining light for all the little lesbians in training. To care about them more than my bank account."

  • MsPam

    How come she didn’t call out Dana Owens?!???

  • Cali

    Why doesn't she close her ugly a ss mouth! Janelle and Tessa doesn't owe anyone $hit and don't have to say $hit about their personal business

  • i troll it like i see it

    I don't know if this was fair, nobody should be pressuring anybody to do anything they are not ready to do until they are 100% ready to do it and who cares about what people think. Another thing, why do people have to declare it when they are gay as opposed to just living their lives? No announcement is needed. Who cares.

  • i troll it like i see it

    I agree, people are "out" they just don't feel the need to make some stupid declaration to a crowd like she does.

  • YellowSauce

    this should be done when the person is ready and comfortable not when some one else wants you to .... people are truely thirsty these days to tell ALL yo business ... mind yo business fool and tell all your business while you are at it ...not that I want to hear all yo business AMEN and bye

  • Quitedeliteful


  • Quitedeliteful

    Lena needs to leave the people alone and let them do whatever they want to do... She should just worry about herself. Everyone in the room is grown and capable sharing or keeping their business to themselves...

  • kekeb

    None of our business what they do and who they're dating. If this is ture, they' not OBLIGATED to come out

  • Shut up Lena!

    She’s speaking on children. Smh. Now that’s what I don’t like. You’re a grown woman who can lick as much kitty as you please. Stop sexualizing children! When these “little lesbians” (and I don’t even feel right typing that) become ADULTS, they can find “role models” and people to emulate. It’s also my belief that a lot of women who swim in the lady pond aren’t really gay. They were abused as children, had no father figure, hurt by men, or inflicted by society. So she can’t assume every “lesbian” was a little butch like her. I can’t stand aggressive lesbians. They actually scare me.

  • Shut up Lena!

    I think everybody knows Janelle and Tessa are a couple. Tessa was also in Janelle’s yoga video. They don’t owe anybody anything, and don’t have to open any closet door. They are grown. I can’t stand gay people like Lena who want a gay planet. Janelle and Tessa are beautiful women. They have male and female fans. Let the men still fantasize about them. Let it be about their work. Nobody wants Lena so she doesn’t have to worry about her fan base or image. Tessa probably goes both ways and as pretty as Janelle is, I think she only likes women. Get a life, Lena, and leave people alone.

  • hottlanta

    Come on down and I got a warm hand for ya. Sounds like a lesbian altar call.

  • hottlanta

    They have to try harder to compensate for not having a penis just like Leroy Cox has to try harder at being a woman to compensate for not having a vagina.

  • datjerk

    So are the rest of us. You too!

  • Nathan Hastings

    Butch dykes are always trying to out people lol??

  • tia


  • NYTimes#1Bestseller

    Ha!!! Lol

  • Quitedeliteful

    Sounds like a lesbian altar call.
    She's tryna start a one woman revolution except no one wants to join...

  • Keekz

    ???Right! Allow these woman to live in peace.

  • Chaseboogie The Prince

    I hate when someone tries to force someone out the closet. Let them live their lives like you lived yours. They will come out when they are ready, not when you are ready for them to come out.

  • Sally Wright McLinn

    I'm kind of bored with all the coming out-gay movement. There's probably a good reason those ladies don't want to come out. They could be in line for lucrative endorsements, movies, and we know the audience doesn't like that our folk are gay and won't support them. So let them be. So boring.

  • GrapeCrush

    Aggressive lesbians SCARE me ?

  • Kayke

    Maybe they don't want to be defined by their sexual preference. Let them live.

  • They’re ALL false God’s fools

    Funny how people come out of the woodwork saying "they should be quiet and keep it to themselves" when the subject is gay relationships. However we are inundated with images of straight relationships in movies, TV, on the Internet, and in Ad campaigns. Funny that no one comes out saying they should "keep it too themselves" when straight people are flaunting their relationships in the media.

  • dontgetblocked

    Let them be. We all know Queen Latifah is gay. There doesn't have to be a big announcement and production. Look where it got Kevin Spacey.

  • Holler If Ya Hear Me

    Flaunt a heterosexual relationship? HahHaha. Funny shit I’ve heard all day.

    So I guess a straight couple having children is flaunting their ability to reproduce? ???

  • Holler If Ya Hear Me

    I was traumatized when I was in my very early 20s when I was aggressively groped by a lesbian security guard. She then try to play it off like she did nothing wrong.

  • millz

    I work with one and I be like bruh be easy ion get down like that ?

  • mark1984

    What did she direct?
    Somebody tell her to sit down and mind her business.

  • mark1984

    Especially the ones that think they are real men.

  • Kimberly King

    Not everyone wants to be upfront and direct with their sexual orientation or anything else for that matter. It's highly possible that Janelle wants to take the Queen Latifah route. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Latifah has never came out and said "hey I'm gay," but we all know she is. She just lives her life and enjoys whoever she's with. Lena is THIRSTY. And wants everybody to be thirsty with her. Let Janelle trib in peace !

  • Kimberly King

    Yep. I teach HS math and one of the teachers in the science department is so butchy. And at times she says inappropriate things.

  • GrapeCrush

    Lol, I know that’s right ?

  • GrapeCrush

    Seeeee....I would’ve whipped her a$$ with her own baton

  • GrapeCrush

    Exactly. I don’t mean to label them all because that’s not cool but many of them just seem too emotionally unstable and overbearing. Even Sandra Rose has said that before.

  • GrapeCrush

    See that would scare me ?????

  • Renee26

    Reads to me like Sandra just outted these two ladies... People don't have to announce their sexuality. That's private

  • JustB

    A person's sexuality is not always up for convo and definitely not a defining characteristic that people should be equipped with to use and further judge

  • Michelle

    That's the dumbest thing I ever read. You see "straight" images of couples on TV because that's how your dumb a $$ got here. Contrary to popular belief, a man and woman together is NORMAL not flaunting. Every show I watch its a gay couple or gay sex in it and that is becoming the normal to see but don't get it confused, there is NO LIFE without those straight relationships and don't forget it

  • Berry Melon

    Damn Janelle's sporting Josephine Baker's iconic flapper hairstyle... Oh, gay? Yeah a lot of people are gay in the limelight. There are some who feel they have to hide it, because it does sometimes affect their careers. I mean it is their choice, I mean nobody is forcing them to come out.

  • Noirluv45

    You ain't never lied. Butch lesbians are some of the most unpleasant people I have met.

  • Roxie Moxie

    Why does the world need to know (or care) that you eat p*ssy or take d*ck in the a**? WE DO NOT CARE. I'm getting sick of all this "coming out" crap. Ok, we get it. You're gay.

  • SandraRose

    I'm tired of gays and liberals forcing sexual politics into everything. It's a luncheon. Do they have to get political about sex? That's part of the reason why Trump won. They still don't get it.

  • Roxie Moxie

    I agree! I don't care one way or the other about someone else's preference. It is their life and they can choose to live it how they want. I don't judge people based off of their choice(s). I'm far from perfect and wouldn't want anyone judging me.

    You're right's a luncheon. She should just let it be that.

  • Ebony N’ Sweet

    lol She need to mind her own business though. People will come out when they are ready.

  • Lol

    Right. Everybody doing something they don’t have no business doing. If not done in moderation then everything is a sin.

  • Wyteprivilege

    Alooooot of great tv! If Oprah said the exact same thing, we would be celebrating and declaring that she should run for President. No shade towards you at all, just a thought I have.

  • Mac Jones

    Uh anybody whos heard Janelle Monaes speaking voice knows she eats awhole lotta pussy. Shes a baritone.

  • the guest

    Thank you.

  • the guest

    Then tried to act like she dd nothing wrong. That is very wrong and traumatic.

  • Monique B

    Thank you

  • sceutie

    TSA hell. :-(

  • Monique B


  • Holler If Ya Hear Me

    It was and to this day I get anxiety whenever I have to encounter female security. I don’t want them touching me and I tell them straight up so not touch my genitals or squeeze my chest or that I want another person present as a witness.


  • Holler If Ya Hear Me

    I wish but she was a butch one mad big and shit. I felt violated.

  • They’re ALL false God’s fools

    It wasn't being gay that got Kevin Spacey in trouble it was that he had apparently been sexually harassing male cast and crew members for years. He had apparently used his position to coerce other young men into having sex with him in hopes they would garner favor in the industry. That's harassment and that's what got him in trouble NOT being gay.

  • SemajBeyPhilly

    Facts! I hate folks who think because they’re out everyone should be. That’s not how that works.

  • mark1984

    She directed what again? Not write or acted.

  • flowerinthemoonlight


  • flowerinthemoonlight

    Maybe sis doesn't want to come out.

  • angrysolo

    when oh when will we stop giving a fawk about who hoochie cooch’n wit who?

  • SandraRose

    Some gays think their mission in life is to recruit younger gays to grow our ranks to prove to society that being gay or trans is "normal". It's a celebration whenever a gay celebrity comes out.

  • Wyteprivilege

    I don’t really have her resume in my back pocket at the moment, which I forgot to take with me this morning. But google is a good resource to use in a crisis like this one.

  • Wyteprivilege

    Well, it seems like you have a personal issue with her. I don’t know if she slept with your mom or your girl, but I’ll just remove myself from that equation. Have a great weekend. I hope ya’ll resolve the lingering issues. ??

  • Cali

    “little lesbians” - b ytch what? I agree with you. And there is no such thing as a "little lesbian" children are not interested in sexual orientation or labels because their frigging children, that's some adult bs right there.

  • mark1984

    Lol. Real cute. Ok. My bad


    Black magazine that is now a vehicle for what causes? Why do we have to care about her sexuality... liberals and Hollywood and the agenda...
    Funny it’s called women in Hollywood... luncheon... and the conversation is promoting homosexuality??? This is the Hollywood luncheon. The white feminist Agenda studies agenda. Pushed by liberal Hollywood even in spaces that their sexuality is not even part of the conversation yet they want it to be front And center. Hmmm now Y?

  • Quitedeliteful

    LOLLOLLOL!!!!!!! You crazy! LOL!!!

  • Malcom Flex

    She needs to mind her own biz STFU I hate to see bw put each other on blast.

  • Lol

    Butch dyikes scare me.

  • Cap

    Janelle been out lol

  • Cali

    thank you, jeez

  • mediagoon

    Ill smash them both tho

  • Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

    As with all personal decisions I support people 'sharing' what they want to When THEY want to ....if she decided when the time was right for her, she should afford others the same freedom to choose their moment. ?

    Congrats to all. ??

  • Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

    Rofl! ?

  • Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

    Smh... ?

  • Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

    The end!??

  • millz

    lol hey Nancy girl ?

  • MsPam

    Actually it back to being black owned!


    let people live and come out when they want. I hate when people try to drag people out. it's no damn secret she gay..

  • Boogie79

    The world doesn't need to know. As long as Jenae is truthful to the person she's with, that's all that matters. I can't stand when people try to drag others out on front street. News flash, the public really don't care.

  • yvette46

    That's stupid somethings need be kept quiet.. It's really not important!!

  • davine puddin

    If you are gay It is Personal. If you are straight its personal. If you dont want any one in your business dont invite them in your private business. She never spoke on her private business. Some people are so inappropriate and tasteless.

  • BeUtFullSoul

    WHO cares.. to each his or HER own...It is NOT my business WHO , WHAT, WHEN, WHERE or HOW people live THEIR relationship/SEXual lives!

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    Thank you for that refreshing dose of common sense.

  • Dowoop

    How about she just let people be. Its none of her business and its none of ours. OAN: Janelle Monae & Danai are sooooo pretty.

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    What's strange to me is this...
    On one hand they say people are "born this way" that and nobody can "turn gay" or "turn straight"... but multiple times I've seen situations of these people trying to recruit and "turn" straight women over to the gay/lez lifestyle. So if sexuality is fixed and not changeable, why are they constantly recruiting?

  • Doink_Ahanahue

    This irritates the FIRE out of me!! IT DOESN'T MATTER!! NO ONE CARES IF YOU'RE GAY OR STRAIGHT UNLESS THEY ARE TRYING TO GET WITH YOU!! I can understand someone talking about having gotten married, engaged, had a child. You don't see the heterosexual actors and actresses hollering "I'm hetero by the way". I don't want or NEED to know your preferences, nor do I have to accept or like them when they are broadcast.

    Who are you really trying to convince that you're proud?

  • Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

    Hey Boo!

  • Yardgirl

    That is so effed up!! Def ask for another person as a wittness. These sexual devaints think they are slick. Damn.

  • Dollface

    Lies lies lies. Why just why.

  • Trace da Ace

    their business....their life...not anybody's business to tell them to do what.....

  • Cats Gold

    Stop being so hung up on race!

  • Applebootay

    Don't get your panties in a bunch....Sandra twisted the story as wasn't directed at anyone in particular...she was just encouraging those afraid to come out to do so....

  • Ant Hill

    fuqq these carpet munchers


    Uhmmm I havent picked up the phone yet about race.

  • Storm’s Rage!


  • Storm’s Rage!

    Aunti Sandie. Dont you want to join the open sushi buffet?