The past few years in the film industry have been some of the best for BIPOC people. While there’s still a long way to go before the underlying racism of the industry is completely blotted out, there’s a lot to celebrate. This is thanks to the revolutionary work of some artists and producers who work tirelessly to make the space more inclusive.
One of these revolutionaries is Lena Waithe. A black masculine lesbian, Waithe belongs to one of the most marginalized categories possible. But despite this, her skills, talents, and hard work paved the way for her to reach the top of Hollywood, and to make a huge impact from there.
The Beginnings of Lena’s Career
Lena’s career began behind the scenes. She helped write a bunch of films and television series and helped produce some too. She was already known in film production circles, but her rise to mainstream fame came in 2015 when she played Denise in the series “Master of None.”
Lena’s character wasn’t intended to have a main role in the series. But her fantastic performance, paired with the relatability of the character as a black lesbian landed her in a main role on the second season of the series.
She was especially praised for the “Thanksgiving” episode, which Lena also wrote. In it, Lena’s character comes out to her mother as lesbian. Something about the way it was written and acted out made it feel very real, and Lena confirmed that it was indeed a page from her own life on film.
Changing Things Up
Since working on “Master of None” Lena has gone on to appear in, write, and produce dozens of other films and TV series. However, the area in which Lena really shines is when she writes or plays LGBTQ characters. The way she understands these roles makes her come out as extremely authentic, which immediately connects the audience to her character.
She also uses her experience growing up in Chicago’s south side to give viewers a taste of what that world is actually like, and not what is so often portrayed in the media. Her series, “The Chi” showed just that. It followed a boy growing up in the area, and she was able to show the world the nuances of growing up in a neighborhood like that.
Awards Upon Awards
Because of her work, Lena Waithe has received countless nominations and has won several prestigious awards.
Her amazing writing in the “Thanksgiving” episode of “Master of None” won her the Primetime Emmy Award for Oustanding Writing.
Her screenwriting and producing work in “Queen & Slim” won her the Black Film Critics Circle Awards’ Best Original Screenplay Award.
And, of course, her tireless work in pushing diversity and inclusivity in Hollywood has won her countless fans and has inspired an entire generation. Being both black and a member of the LGBTQ community is not at all easy in this world, but with leaders like Lena paving the way, there’s surely a brighter tomorrow.