Lena Waithe Has A Plan To Write A Black Lesbian Into Prime Time
The Master of None writer is fighting for LGBTQIA representation on TV…
To say that Lena Waithe is having a moment is an understatement.
In September, she made history as the first black, queer woman to win an Emmy for writing in a comedy series. Waithe, who has a recurring role in Master of None, won her statue for co-writing the Thanksgiving episode of the Netflix comedy with series co-creator and star Aziz Ansari. The widely acclaimed episode was based on her experience of coming out as a lesbian.
When she reached the stage, dressed in a brilliant black and gold-patterned tuxedo, she delivered the best speech of the night—an assertive, impassioned speech thanking both her girlfriend, Alana Mayo (“I love you more than life itself”), and her “LGBTQIA family,” as she described it.
“I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different—those are our superpowers, she said to the LGBTQIA audience. Every day when you walk out the door, put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world, because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it.”
Now that Waithe has gone viral, she’s ready to champion the importance of diversity in entertainment. She’s about to launch an autobiographical Showtime series, The Chi, about her coming-of-age years in Chicago, and is in the midst of developing other TV projects. And she wants to make gay TV history with at least one of those projects.
“We do still have a way to go,” Waithe told The Daily Beast about LGBTQIA representation. “I want to create a show where a black gay woman is the lead, where she is the protagonist, she is the person whom we are following. That is still yet to be done. I have faith. I hope we can make it happen; we still don’t have that. We don’t have a show where a queer brown male person is the lead.”
Waithe is optimistic about where we’ve been, and where we’re going. “I think Doubt with Laverne Cox was a huge leap forward. Unfortunately, it was short-lived, but it was still a notch on our belt. I think we need more of that. The world is ready. They are. Let my episode [of Master of None] be an example. They’re ready for it.
“Now it’s about me doing the work, doing the heavy lifting and making sure that there’s something a network can get behind, and then hopefully other people can follow suit. We need more of that, more than we can ever know.”
So, is she writing a break-the-mould drama, featuring a black lesbian protagonist for prime time?
“Yes, I’m writing something. Yep, yep, yep, I’m working on it,” Waithe said, laughing. “I’m working on it, I’m working on it.”
She declined to divulge anything about the character, plot and setting. “All that stuff I can’t say. I’ll just say things are looking good and people should stay tuned.”