Lena Waithe

Lena Waithe

Screenwriter, Actress
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Screenwriter and actress Lena Waithe is changing the cultural conversation one story at a time, introducing characters and storylines rarely seen in entertainment. One big example: In 2017, she was the first black woman to win an Emmy for writing for a comedy series, for an episode of Netflix’s Master of None, about coming out as a lesbian to one’s mother.

In 2019, Waithe produced Queen & Slim, a movie about a black couple on the run after one of them shoots a white policeman in self-defense and becoming what a Vulture review called “folk heroes in a narrative of resistance and police brutality.”  She is also the creator of The Chi, a Showtime drama about life on Chicago’s troubled South Side.

Waithe was raised in that neighborhood by a single mother who encouraged her ambitions to be a television writer. She earned a degree in cinema and television arts from Columbia College Chicago in 2006 and soon headed to Los Angeles. Waithe has since appeared in several comedy series, in addition to racking up screenwriting credits.

The openly gay Waithe consistently speaks out about issues of race and sexuality. As she told the website The Undefeated, “I think your art is stunted when you’re trying to be something you aren’t.”

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