June 9th: Lena Waithe

Happy June 9th, let’s talk about lesbian screenwriter, producer, and actress Lena Waithe.

Lena Waithe was born May 17th, 1984 in Chicago, Illinois. From a young age, Lena knew she wanted to be a T.V. writer. Her family supported her dreams – especially her single mother and grandmother. She attended Columbia College Chicago to study Cinema and Television Arts. After graduating in 2006, Waithe picked up a job at a movie theater and in the media department of Blackbuster. Later that year, she was able to transfer her Blackbuster job out to LA.

There, Lena started working as an assistant to the executive producer of the show Girlfriends. She began to do some acting as well, starting with a small role on the show The Comeback. In 2011, Lena wrote and directed her own short film called Save Me.

Lena quickly became a well-know busy bee in LA. She was a writer with shows like Bones (Fox) and How to Rock (Nickelodeon). She wrote a web series in 2013 called “Hello Cupid” and a YouTube series called “Twenties” in 2014. She produced Dear White People in 2014. In 2015, the piolet for The Chi, written by Lena Waithe, was picked up by Showtime. The show focused on the coming of age story of a young Black-American man in Chicago’s South Side.

Around that time, she was cast in the show Master of None (Netflix) and eventually joined on as a writer with show creator Aziz Ansari. In 2017, the two won Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series because of a season 2 episode called “Thanksgiving”. According to Waithe, she says that this particular episode is based on her experience coming out of the closet. In their Emmy acceptance speech, Lena said:

“Thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a little queer black girl from the South Side of Chicago.”

Waithe also wrote and produced the movie Queen & Slim in 2019. According to her IMDb, she still has some more projects in post-production. 

Lena also works as the co-chair of the Committee of Black Writers in the Writers Guild and she works behind the scenes to bring more queer and people of colour onto her projects. Not only is Lena Waithe funny as hell, but she is also someone who actively makes the world a better place with her work. She gives a voice to those who have been oppressed and shut out of the movie business. She gives hope to some queer people who may one day want to be an out and proud comedy writer like her.

Thank you, Lena.

Information from Wikipedia and IMDb

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