Samira Wiley talked Pride and being an LGBT role model — and here's why you should listen
Samira Wiley, best known for her role as Poussey on Orange Is The New Black, recently opened up about what it’s like to be such a major role model to the LGBT community. What she had to say will make you love her even more, if that’s even possible (but trust us, it is. Our love for Wiley grows every day!).
When asked about her experience with Pride, Wiley was more than thrilled to share. “Pride is one of my favorite times of the year because it’s so joyous!” the actress told The Daily Beast. “It’s so gay!”
“To be honest, my Pride parades are sort of blending into each other right now—I went to a few this year—and at one we held a moment of silence for Orlando,” she said, referencing the recent shooting in Orlando at Pulse, a gay nightclub. “I was never struck more than in that moment of how joyous and how happy Pride makes me, because we had to take that moment of silence and for a moment, it was so profoundly sad, it was so profoundly upsetting, that it made me aware of how different a feeling it was.”
But the shooting didn’t scare her into silence. If anything, it did the opposite. “I took it as a message of how important it is to me to stay visible, to remain active, and not necessarily doing anything radical but just living my life openly and honestly in front of people—I think that in and of itself can be radical—and to not hide, and to not be afraid.”
“These are things that are much easier said than done, but I think if anyone can do it, someone that is in my position as a potential role model should, and that’s a position that I do not want to take lightly. I want to be a positive role model for young people to let them know that we can live our lives openly, honestly, and with love.”
Wiley’s willingness to be open and to be proud of herself as a black lesbian is so major in a society where queerness has been generally whitewashed, with the spotlight often on the successes of white men. We’ve been totally thrilled to see so many women of color coming forward this year as queer, and we hope that as we see more and more queer women of color in the public eye, we’ll see more recognition of the importance of intersectionality when it comes to things like queer rights and what Pride should look, and feel, like.
We’re happy Pride makes you so happy, Samira! Because you make us so happy. And seriously, we can’t wait to see her in The Handmaids Tale! She makes our hearts so warm, and the more Samira Wiley, the better.