Photo: Frazer Harrison / Staff via Getty Images
  /  02.23.2023

Hopefully, you’ve been tuning into REVOLT’s newest series, “The Jason Lee Show.” If you haven’t, then you’ve missed some of the best interviews conducted by the famed blogger featuring guests like Cardi B, La La Anthony, couple Blueface and Chrisean Rock, and many others. On yesterday’s (Feb. 22) episode, Lee sat down with Daytime Emmy Award-winning actress and LGBTQ advocate Laverne Cox. The “Orange is the New Black” star appeared for an extended conversation about fame, being the first trans woman to have a Barbie doll, transphobia in the Black community, and much more.   

Early in the discussion, Cox admitted acting wasn’t her first career option. While attending the Alabama School of Fine Arts in her home state, she studied creative writing before switching to dance. However, Cox said she was encouraged by her twin brother to take acting seriously after he saw her perform.

“My brother was like, ‘You’re an actor,’” she recalled. “’Acting is actually what you should be doing. You’re brilliant.’ He saw it for me as an actor before I saw it for myself. And that’s why I’m here — because I’m an actor, but I’ve had to work really hard at my craft.”

With reassurance from her sibling, the Alabama native began taking acting classes. The journey not only improved her skills onscreen but also helped the then-aspiring thespian to address past traumas. “There were a lot of blocks I had to get through to get to who I am, and that’s an ongoing process. But, I was finally able to,” she told host Lee. 

Cox would be 40 years old when her big break arrived, but the actress said she remains “really grateful” that it happened when it did, before adding, “Because I couldn’t have handled it younger.” 

The conversation took on a more serious tone after Lee asked about her upbringing. Cox politely declined to elaborate but stated it’s “a messy, complicated story.” She added, “That’s my mother’s business and for her to tell.” 

The LGBTQ activist said her father, whom she referred to as a “sperm donor,” was not in the picture, and she only met him once before his passing. Still, Cox applauded her mother, who raised her and her brother as a single parent. “And when people always sort of deride single mothers, saying, ‘We need to get rid of single mothers,’ I’m like, ‘Single mothers, particularly in the Black community, have held up our community for centuries’ — and I think I turned out really well,” the actress added. 

Laverne Cox’s remarks ultimately led to a discussion about transphobia in the Black community. She also talked about the mistreatment she’s received living as an openly straight transwoman, most of which she claimed has come from “other Black people.” Still, the icon clarified, “I don’t believe that Black folks are more homophobic or transphobic than everybody else. I don’t believe that’s the case,” before adding, “But I’m Black, and so, we get it from the people we’re closest to, right? And often, marginalized people police each other.” 

The Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen executive producer believes the issue is complicated but suggested, “There is this whole simultaneous fear of Black masculinity and Black male sexuality, and this desire to kind of emasculate that.” 

Aside from a successful acting career, Cox is also revered as a trailblazer for spreading awareness about the issues affecting the LGBTQ community, an effort she credits her mom for inspiring. As mentioned, in May 2022, the pioneer also became the first trans woman to have a Barbie doll made in her likeness. During her appearance on “The Jason Lee Show,” Cox gifted the host with his own doll.  

The conversation continued as the “Doubt” television star opened up about working for REVOLT Chairman Sean “Diddy” Combs, learning the difference between Black famous and white famous, her viral red carpet interview with Machine Gun Kelly at the Grammys, life at 50 years old, and much more.

Like always, if you liked what you heard, tune into new episodes of “The Jason Lee Show” every Tuesday on REVOLT’s TV channel at 10 p.m. ET as well as every Wednesday on our website, YouTube Channel, and app at 5 p.m. ET. Also, don’t forget to watch the latest installment with Laverne Cox here.



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