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Cynthia Erivo Delivers Powerful Speech About Being ‘Black, Bald-Headed, Pierced and Queer’

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Marc Malkin Senior Editor, Culture and Events Cynthia Erivo may not be a green witch but that doesn’t mean she can’t relate to Elphaba, the sorcerer she plays in the upcoming “Wicked” movies. “As I stand here in front of you: Black, bald-headed, pierced, and queer, I can say I know a thing or two about being the other,” the Tony winner said Saturday night at the Los Angeles LGBT Center Gala, where she was presented with the Schrader Award by Jada Pinkett-Smith. “Elphaba’s story is… about how a colorful, powerful, magical woman—despite being disparaged, demonized, and discriminated against—becomes a hero.” “Wicked is a reclamation and a reimagining of the labels used against her.

It is the proclamation of her right to exist in all her power,” she continued. “If that sounds familiar to you colorful, magical people in this room—it should.” Erivo came out as bisexual in the pages of British Vogue in 2022. “I lived in deep admiration of anyone who could fully embody their true authentic self, wear their queerness like a feather boa and proudly say this is a beautiful part of who I am,” she said. “I used to say that it felt like I was looking at my own community from inside a glass box.

There you all were — vibrant, and beautiful and falling in love and I had my nose pressed up against the glass looking out at all of you separate and apart.

It took time for me to outgrow my box.” Earlier in the evening, on the red carpet, Erivo offered some words of advice for others in Hollywood who may be thinking about coming out publicly. “Come in, the water is warm,” she told Variety. “We’re all here to support you.

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