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Why do we love Ariana DeBose? Let us count the reasons…

 

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If there is anyone who embodies celebrating who you are, it’s Ariana DeBose. 

DeBose made history in March when she became the first openly queer woman of color to win an Academy Award.

Upon accepting the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role of Anita in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 remake of West Side Story, she gave a touching speech that truly made our LGBTQ hearts sing:

“Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus, look into her eyes: You see a queer, openly queer woman of color, an Afro Latina who found her strength in life through art.” DeBose said, as she held her golden statue.

“And that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate. So, to anybody who has ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever, or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us.”

 

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For years, DeBrose has been giving us the LGBTQ content we need.

Her Broadway credits include hits like Hamilton, Pippin, and Bring It On the Musical. And in 2020, she starred as Alyssa, a popular queer high school student secretly dating her classmate, in Netflix’s The Prom… a role she told The Advocate was an honor.

“Members of our community are very aware that our stories are not often told in this way,” she said of her leading role in The Prom. “We do not see young queer women in this way, almost ever, especially not women of color.”

“To be able to finally reflect that to young people all over the world, it’s a breath of fresh air. And I feel like we’re moving in the right direction.”

She also starred in Schmigadoon!, the severely underrated Apple TV+ musical comedy that’s practically made for the gays and stars icons such as Alan Cummings, Kristin Chenoweth, and Jane Krakowski.

Seriously, why aren’t more people talking about it?! Just check out trailer and then go watch it this instant.

OK! Side tangent aside, DeBose is a fierce advocate for the LGBTQ community. After it was revealed Disney donated to sponsors of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the actress wasted no time taking action.

In an interview with Variety, DeBose shared how she reached out directly to Disney CEO Bob Chepak after hearing the news.

“Bob and I, we’re gonna do the work,” she said at the time. “I have [spoken to Chapek]. I’m a very hands-on type of person. And when I see something, I say something. And while I may not always put it on the internet, I do that. I reached out. And I will continue to reach out and Bob knows that.”

 

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DeBose’s hands-on approach can be seen in the organizations she supports, too. According to Broadway World, she currently sits on the International Board of Covenant House advocating for homeless youth, many of whom identify as queer.

She is also a board member of A is For, a reproductive rights organization started by actress Martha Plimpton that works to ensure that all women have access to reproductive and abortion care free of stigma.

And if that wasn’t enough, she’s the co-founder of Unruly Hearts Initiative, which aims to connect young people with trusted organizations that advocate for queer people, including those that offer housing solutions, mental health resources, education, and mentorship.

Whether making history for her on-screen work, or championing the LGBTQ community behind the scenes, there is no denying the impact that DeBose has had in the world. The representation she provides to millions of queer people of color around the world, coupled with her fearlessness to speak out on critical issues, makes us proud in more ways than one.

 

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A post shared by Ariana DeBose (@arianadebose)

Pride50Welcome to Queerty’s Pride50. We’re celebrating the members from our community who are responsible for some of the most inspiring and extraordinary moments for LGBTQ people over the last year. See all the honorees