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Seven Black Actresses You Forgot Played Gay


Is it just me or is Hollywood getting really comfortable handing over nuanced LGBTQ+ roles to straight, cisgender, white actors? I can think of a few off the top of my head: Jared Leto (trash, garbage, rubbish, and other related synonyms), Eddie Redmayne (the male Jennifer Lawrence, meaning undeserving of critical acclaim), Benedict Cumberbatch (the internet crush of everyone with low levels of melanin), and Cate Blanchett (problematic, but trying). Though I might come across as bitter about the whole practice, I’m not entirely opposed to straight actors donning the rainbow for a role. I’m totally giving a pass to the following seven black actresses who white media may have ignored for their lady-loving portrayals:

1 Taraji P Henson as Shark Watters in “Smokin’ Aces”

Taraji P. Henson and Alicia Keys play lesbian lovers.
Before starring in her critically acclaimed role as Cookie Lyon, Henson played a lesbian assassin in 2005’s forgettable “Smokin’ Aces.” Alicia Keys played her partner, in both senses of the word, in the movie. The film co-starred Ryan Reynolds and our second favorite Chris Pine of course, yet still, no one saw it.

2 Rashida Jones as Cindy Harris in “Our Idiot Brother”

Rashida Jones kisses ZooeyDeschanel
Rashida Jones has played a lesbian before, and no I’m not talking about any femslash fanfic involving Ann Perkins and Leslie Knope caught up in some salacious political scandal. (Though if you know of some, please send them my way). I’m talking about her supporting role in the film “Our Idiot Brother,” which starred Paul Rudd. Jones played a lesbian lawyer in wire-rimmed glasses who was also the live-in girlfriend of Zooey Deschanel’s character (the sister of the titular brother).

3 Angela Bassett as Ramona Royale in “American Horror Story: Hotel”

Angela Bassett Kisses Lady Gaga in American Horror Story
After her scene-stealing turn as a voodoo queen in “American Horror Story: Coven,” Ryan Murphy asked Bassett back to the anthology series. This time she played a 70’s Blaxploitation actress turned vampiric ex-lover of Lady Gaga’s The Countess. Yes, Angela Bassett x Lady Gaga was a thing that happened in TV land. In case you don’t believe me, there is actual photographic evidence of this unlikely yet visually appealing coupling.

4 Tia Mowry-Hardrict as Cassie on “Rosewood”

Tia Mowry-Hardrict  embraces Gabrielle Dennis

Years after appearing as onscreen rivals in the football dramedy, “The Game,” Mowry-Hardrict reunited with former co-star Gabrielle Dennis (“Luke Cage,” “The Bobby Brown Story”) for a brief stint on the now-canceled “Rosewood.” The “Sister, Sister” actress starred as the restaurateur ex-girlfriend of Dennis’s character. While Tia isn’t necessarily my favorite Mowry, she is an attractive woman, so I ship it.

5 Loretta Devine as CeCe in “Being Mary Jane”

Loretta Devine
BMJ Season 3 Episode 10 (Photo: BET)
America’s favorite black auntie guested as a wheeling-and-dealing, gender-bending hustler, on the Gabrielle Union-starring show, “Being Mary Jane.” From classics like “Waiting to Exhale” to appearing on hit shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” Devine has pretty much tackled every type of role in her lengthy acting career, but seeing her as a suit-wearing fedora-donning crook made my little gay heart sing.

6 Niecy Nash as Dr. Jean Fishman on “The Mindy Project”

Niecy Nash Kisses Mindy  Kaling
Lesbian-ing doctor is what you should start thinking every time funny lady Niecy Nash pops up on your screen. After “The Office” but before her brother pulled a Rachel Dolezal, Mindy Kaling had a pretty decent television show on FOX. So decent in fact, that Nash agreed to recur as the lesbian chief of the hospital where Mindy’s character is employed. Some hijinks here and a few missed signals leads to the very heterosexual Mindy, engaging in a lip lock with the new resident lesbian. Of course, it doesn’t end as gay as one would hope, but the remnants of what might have been, live on forever in GIF form.

7 Letitia Wright as Vivienne ‘Scotty’ Scott in “Banana”

The guy that created “Queer as Folk” and masterminded the 2005 revival of “Doctor Who,” also produced a British TV series named after the states of erection hardness. He then hired Letitia Wright (the best Disney princess since the cross-dressing Mulan) to star in said series. Wright played a queer youth struggling to make ends meet in Manchester, England while lusting after an older white woman (#same).

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Jaime is an incredibly gay filmmaker trying to screenwrite her way out of Louisiana one lesbian protagonist at a time. In her spare time, she runs the sites LavandNoir and Black Queer Firsts.

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