As the biggest event on the fashion fundraising calendar, it goes without saying that the annual Met Gala is the perfect place to make a bold statement. This year, actress Lena Waithe and designer Kerby Jean Raymond of Pyer Moss did exactly that.
On Monday (May 6) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, celebrities took turns stealing the spotlight on the red carpet and showing off looks that pertained to the 2019 theme "Camp: Notes on Fashion.". For this year's event, Waithe donned a pinstripe suit that read "Black Drag Queens Invented Camp" on the back, a statement she explained further during an interview with E! News.
"Kerby Jean-Raymond came up with a design. We collaborated on really bringing a message," the 34-year-old screenwriter and actress shared. "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. People like RuPaul, all these pioneers who really started this whole thing and I really wanted to pay tribute to them."
In addition to reminding others that the theme originated in a minority community regardless of how it may be interpreted in the mainstream now, she also paid homage to the late Nipsey Hussle.
"The buttons are pictures of those people and the lyrics like 'I'm coming out, Sylvester, you make me feel,'" Waithe said. "I want to pay tribute to them and the culture."
She also explained how the details of her and Jean-Raymond's designs helped further drive the theme home.
"For me, it's over the top but also take everything you're trying to do to the next level," she continued. "It's about being extra, doing the most. Black folks do the most all the time. Kerby came up with the idea and I loved it from jump. We've got Nipsey Hussle in the building. His lyrics are also [included]."
Jean-Raymond's outfit, which he wore on the carpet alongside Waithe, featured the words "Fix Your Credit. Pool Money. Buy Back the Block" on the back.
"We really wanted to bring that vibe and style to the Met red carpet," Waithe concluded.
Take a look at photos of Lena Waithe and Kerby Jean Raymond celebrating Black excellence at the 2019 Met Gala below.
I drew my Met Gala suit about 4 months ago. Custom silk ‘Zoot’ blazer with custom lyrical stripes from some of my favorite rappers. Each line is a bar from Nip, Pac, Jay, Nas, Drake, Meek, Cole and Kendrick. Custom buttons by the brother @JohnnyNelson. pic.twitter.com/B8VuneBedl— — (@kerbito) May 7, 2019