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Unsung Heroes: Lena Waithe Is A Black Lesbian Making Moves In The Entertainment Industry

by Rob Smith February 23, 2016

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During Black History Month, the mainstream media recycles stories about Martin Luther King and Malcolm X while LGBTQ outlets predictably trot out RuPaul, Bayard Rustin, and Laverne Cox and other examples of great African-Americans we’re already well acquainted with.

Over the next week, we’re going to spotlight a few amazing black unsung heroes.

These people are leaders, journalists, and activists who span the entire African diaspora (i.e. not only Americans).

Next up, actress/writer/producer Lena Waithe.

We didn’t know who Lena Waithe was until we finished the (brilliant) first season of Aziz Ansari’s Netflix show Master Of None, but now that she’s in our lives we want her here forever.

Waithe is a writer, actress, and producer who’s written for Bones and also wrote the 2011 viral video Shit Black Girls Say. You can see that hilariousness above. 

She was also a producer of the 2014 flick Dear White People which also, by the way, featured a gay black character as the lead (and was written and directed by out black gay man Justin Simien). So, yeah, she’s pretty cool.

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And if all that wasn’t enough, she’s even been written up in Vogue. Yes, you heard that right: a black lesbian was interviewed by Vogue, and her response to the age-old “diversity on TV” question was quite interesting:

“I think for my character it’s almost revolutionary to see a black lesbian who isn’t two-dimensional, who isn’t just there for shits and giggles. Being a black lesbian myself, I roll my eyes a little bit when I see black lesbian characters on shows where it’s purely there for decoration.

You can just hear it in the writers room . . . “What if we make her a lesbian?!” It’s weird because I see black gay characters on television all the time, but do I relate to them? Not always, because they’re set pieces.”

Master of None returns for Season 2 sometime in 2017, and she’s the co-creator of a Showtime drama pilot about a young black man growing up in Chicago.

If we were lesbians, Lena would be our kind of girl, but it looks like she’s a bit busy conquering the entertainment world.




Rob Smith
Rob Smith

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