*Comedian Marsha Warfield established herself as a stand-up comic when she was in her 20’s — working with such greats as Richard Pryor in his variety show.
In her early thirties, she joined the cast of the hit sitcom “Night Court” for seven seasons. Before she was 40, she was hosting her own talk show.
She would later take a long hiatus from the stage, and when asked in a 2016 interview about what led to her absence, Warfield said matter-of-factly, “Life.”
She took to Facebook Saturday and shared that when she came out to her own mother, her mom requested that she not come out publicly until she was dead and buried.
Peep what she had to say about being gay in the black community below.
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When I told my mother I was gay, she said she knew, and had known all my life.
Then, she asked me not to come out publicly while she was alive.
I agreed, even though the request and her admission were hurtful in ways I couldn’t put my finger on then, and probably haven’t completely worked through now.
But, everybody who knew me, knew I was gay.
The people I didn’t tell knew anyway, and tacitly agreed to pretend that the unacknowledged had been acknowledged and accepted.
Like I’m sure is true for millions of other glass door closeted people.
When I went to bars, which was frequently, I never tried to hide who I was.
So, it was an open secret.
Had I never come out publicly, many, many people would have known.
It would not then have ever really been a betrayal of trust to “spill the beans.”
Because it wasn’t a secret, it was an uncomfortably kept promise to my mother.
But, it was also not the only reason I didn’t come out swinging when she passed.
The fear of the judgment of strangers and their holier-than-thou “shoulds” was at least as big of a burden to bear.
But the “shoulds” that “should” matter don’t.
Nobody should have to hide their sexuality.
No parent should ask their child to.
There should be no shame in being gay.
And, I ain’t mad at Patti LaBelle.
I’m mad at the people who are.
Last week, LaBelle said on Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live” that Luther Vandross didn’t come out because he didn’t want to disappoint his mother and female fans.