Tag: Lena Waithe

Meet Lena Waithe’s Black Women Who Brunch, the Next Big TV Scribes | Hollywood Reporter

splash_blackfemalewriters-thrby Rebecca Sun via hollywoodreporter.com

For The Hollywood Reporter’s largest shoot ever, members of Black Women Who Brunch, a networking group co-founded by Lena Waithe, gather to discuss how the industry can better understand black women in Hollywood: “We have to be exceptional.”

In 2014, Nkechi Okoro Carroll was an executive story editor on Bones when she met an up-and-coming scribe named Lena Waithe at a WGA Committee of Black Writers event. The two hit it off, so much so that Okoro Carroll got the future Emmy winner — whose major credit at the time was writing for the Nickelodeon series How to Rock — hired as a staff writer on her Fox procedural, making Waithe the second black woman in the room. “Aren’t you worried she’s going to take your job?” a fellow writer on staff asked Okoro Carroll.

“You should be worried she’ll take your job,” retorted Okoro Carroll, now showrunning The CW’s All American. What the duo felt was not competition but kinship: “We often felt like unicorns,” Okoro Carroll says. “When someone asked me to recommend mid-level female writers [of color] for a job, I was appalled to realize I didn’t know many names.”

Together with Erika L. Johnson, then writing for BET’s Being Mary Jane, the women decided to create a network of black female TV writers themselves. Twelve assembled for the March 2014 inaugural meeting of what came to be known as Black Women Who Brunch (BWB); today, the membership nears 80. “This group is the proof” against and antidote to “people saying, ‘We can’t find any black female writers,'” says Johnson, now a co-executive producer on NBC’s upcoming The Village.

BWB holds potlucks at Okoro Carroll’s house every few months (usually about 30 members are available at one time) to toast triumphs and troubleshoot challenges. “It’s not just a community we’re building, but a resource,” says Waithe. “We really are able to recommend eight or nine black women for certain jobs.”

In August, BWB took its first off-site trip — a weekend getaway to Palm Springs. And in November, 62 members gathered for THR‘s biggest photo shoot ever, where they revealed what they wish their colleagues knew about being a black woman in the business.

To read and see more, go to:  Meet Lena Waithe’s Black Women Who Brunch, the Next Big TV Scribes | Hollywood Reporter

‘The Chi’ Creator Lena Waithe Sets First-Look Deal at Showtime for Hillman Grad Productions

Lena Waithe
Emmy Winner Lena Waithe (CREDIT: JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

by Joe Otterton via Variety.com

Lena Waithe has signed a first-look deal with Showtime, the premium cabler announced Tuesday. Under the deal, Waithe will develop comedy and drama projects for Showtime that she will both write and produce through her company Hillman Grad Productions.

“I have been a fan of Showtime for as long as I can remember,” said Waithe. “They make shows that most networks wouldn’t touch and they’ve never been afraid of taking risks. I look forward to introducing my Showtime family to fresh and exciting new voices. I want to make content that will challenge audiences and take them places they never thought TV could go. It’s going to be a fun ride.”

Waithe most recently created and executive produces the Showtime drama “The Chi,” which was renewed for a second season in January.

“We fell in love with Lena’s voice when we ordered her pilot for ‘The Chi’ three years ago, and we have watched in awe at her powerful impact on our industry and our culture,” said Gary Levine, Showtime’s president of programming. “Lena is a creative force of nature and we are delighted that the force will be with us as she makes Showtime her creative home.”

“The Chi” was Showtime’s biggest launch for a drama series in two years and grew its audience in consecutive weeks.

The debut of that series came on the heels of Waithe winning the Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy series for the “Master of None” episode “Thanksgiving” that she co-wrote. The episode adapted Waithe’s personal experience as a queer black woman coming out to herself and her family into the character of Denise, whom Waithe played.

It was recently announced that her latest script, “Queen & Slim,” will go into production in January starring Daniel Kaluuya for Universal. Waithe also serves as executive producer and writer of the upcoming series “Twenties” at TBS.

Her producing credits include the films “Step Sisters” and “Dear White People,” which later became a Netflix series in which she guest starred. She was also named one of Time magazine’s Most Influential People of 2018.

Source: https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/lena-waithe-the-chi-showtime-deal-1202882463/

Daniel Kaluuya to Star in Romantic Drama ‘Queen and Slim’ From Writer/Producer Lena Waithe and Director Melina Matsoukas

by Dave McNary via Variety.com

“Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya is set to lead the independent romance drama “Queen & Slim,” written by Lena Waithe.  “Insecure” and “Master of None” helmer Melina Matsoukas is making her feature directorial debut.

Waithe, known for her work on “Master of None” and “The Chi,” wrote the script based on an original idea and treatment from bestselling author James Frey (“A Million Little Pieces”) and a story by Frey and Waithe. “Queen & Slim” will go into pre-production this October with production commencing in January. Matsoukas and Waithe are still searching for a fresh face for the role of Queen.

“Queen & Slim” is an exploration of America’s social and political climate through the lens of a genre-defying love story. The film centers on a black man and black woman who go on a first date that goes awry after the two are pulled over by a police officer at a traffic stop. They kill the police officer in self-defense and rather than turn themselves in, they go on the run.

Waithe is producing the film through her company, Hillman Grad Productions, along with Matsoukas’ production company De La Revolución Films and Frey’s 3BlackDot. Andrew Coles and Michelle Knudsen are also producing. “To me, this is protest art,” said Waithe. “It’s about being black and trying to fall in love in a world that’s burning down around you.”

Matsoukas said, “It’s a film that defines black love as a revolutionary act. It shows that our union is the greatest weapon against the assault on black people in America.”

“Queen & Slim” will be distributed by Universal Pictures worldwide with eOne handling distribution in select territories including the U.K. and Canada. The film will be released in North America on Nov. 27, 2019.

This is the first film greenlit under Makeready’s recently announced distribution deal with Universal. eOne is Makeready’s lead investor. Brad Weston’s production company, Makeready, is financing the film, along with 3BlackDot.

Kaluuya, who received a best actor nomination at the Oscars for “Get Out,” most recently appeared as W’Kabi in “Black Panther.” In 2017, Lena Waithe became the first black woman to win a comedy writing Emmy for the “Thanksgiving” episode of “Master of None.”

Mastoukas is a two-time Grammy Award winner for her “We Found Love” and Beyonce’s “Formation” music videos.

To read more: https://variety.com/2018/film/news/daniel-kaluuya-romance-queen-and-slim-1202878861/

Emmy Award-Winning Actor/Writer/Producer Lena Waithe Covers April Issue Of ‘Vanity Fair’

by Danielle Jennings via hellobeautiful.com

The last year has been a whirlwind for actress/writer/producer/creator Lena Waithe. After making history by being the first black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (for the Netflix hit Master of None,) creating the new Showtime hit series The Chi and co-starring in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film Ready Player One. Waithe is living her best life and now she can add Vanity Fair cover girl to the list.

You might as well get used to seeing and hearing about Lena Waithe for years to come, as the young Hollywood power player is breaking down boundaries and providing top-tier work with each project. As she covers the April 2018 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, Waithe gets candid about her career, her future and being a queer POC.

Excerpts from Lena Waithe x Vanity Fair interview:

[On how life has changed since her Emmy win]: “How has the Emmy changed me? It got me all these meetings that I go in and say I’m too busy to work with you—you should have hollered at me. You can take my call when I call you about this black queer writer over here who’s got a dope pilot, or this person over here who’s got really cool ideas, or this actress who’s really amazing but nobody’s seen her.”

[On being a black writer in Hollywood]: “The hardest thing about being a black writer in this town is having to pitch your black story to white execs,” she says. “Also, most of the time when we go into rooms to pitch, there’s one token black executive that sometimes can be a friend and sometimes can be a foe. I wonder if they think it makes me more comfortable, if that makes me think that they’re a woke network or studio because they’ve got that one black exec. It feels patronizing. I’m not against a black exec. I want there to be more of them.”

[On being a black gay woman in Hollywood]: “Being black and gay, having dreadlocks, having a certain kind of swag, and dressing the way I do,” she explains, she is sometimes told by certain well-meaning admirers or fashion wannabes, “ ‘That’s dope, you’re cool.’ I don’t feel validated by that. . . . I don’t want to be White. I don’t want to be straight. I don’t want to blend in. . . . I try to wear queer designers who happen to be brown and makin’ shit.”

In addition to her other projects, Waithe also just got the greenlight for her TBS series Twenties which is loosely based on her early years in Los Angeles and tells the stories of three black women making their way in Hollywood.

Source: https://hellobeautiful.com/2987441/lena-waithe-covers-april-issue-of-vanity-fair/

Essence Magazine to Honor ‘Game-Changers’ Haddish, Waithe, Among Others at Black Women in Hollywood Awards

Tiffany Haddish is one of four women being honored at the March 1, 2018 event in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File) (Associated Press)
by Associated Press via washingtonpost.com

NEW YORK — “Girls Trip” changed the game for Tiffany Haddish, and now she’s being honored as one of Essence Magazine’s “game-changers” at its annual “Black Women in Hollywood” awards.

“Girls Trip” was one of last year’s big hits and made Haddish a breakout star. The comedian is one of four women being honored at the March 1 event in Beverly Hills, California.

“The Chi” creator and “Master of None” star Lena Waithe will also be celebrated; she became the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing last year.

Danai Gurira of “The Walking Dead” stars in the upcoming “Black Panther.” Gurira also created the Tony-nominated “Eclipsed,” among other works. Tessa Thompson broke new ground in her role in last fall’s superhero hit “Thor.”

Essence magazine editor Vanessa De Luca says the honorees are “raising their voices to benefit all women.”

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/celebrities/essence-honors-game-changers-haddish-waithe-among-others/2018/02/06/54083e84-0b46-11e8-998c-96deb18cca19_story.html?utm_term=.ad9ee8c26f95

Creator and Executive Producer Lena Waithe’s Freshman Series “The Chi” Renewed for 2nd Season by Showtime

by Joe Otterson via Variety.com

Emmy winner Lena Waithe‘s “The Chi” has been renewed for a second season at Showtime, the premium cabler announced Tuesday.

The renewal comes after the series has aired just four episodes of its 10 episode first season. In addition, Ayanna Floyd Davis has signed on for Season 2 as executive producer and showrunner. Davis, who wrote the third episode of the series, has written for and produced shows such as “Empire,” “Hannibal,” and “Private Practice.”

Produced entirely in Chicago, “The Chi” is a coming-of-age story centering on a group of residents who become linked by coincidence but bonded by the need for connection and redemption on the city’s South Side. The series was created and executive produced by actor/writer Waithe.

The ensemble cast for Season 1 includes Jason Mitchel, Jacob Latimore, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Alex Hibbert, Yolonda Ross, Armando Riesco, and Tiffany Boone.

Source: http://variety.com/2018/tv/news/the-chi-renewed-season-2-showtime-1202681682/

“Girls Trip, “Get Out,” “Black-ish,” Garner Multiple Wins at 49th NAACP Image Awards

The cast and crew of “black-ish” accepts award for outstanding comedy series at the 49th annual NAACP Image Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, in Pasadena, Calif. Pictured from left are Laurence Fishburne, Anthony Anderson, Jeff Mecham, Jenifer Lewis, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kenya Barris, Yara Shahidi, Miles Brown, Peter Mackenzie, Marsai Martin, and Marcus Scribner (Credit: Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

The winners of the 49th NAACP Image Awards were announced last night during the live broadcast from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium which aired on TV One. The two-hour live special was hosted by Anthony Anderson and opened with a powerful moment in support of #TIMESUP featuring Angela Robinson, Kerry Washington, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Laverne Cox, Lena Waithe and Tracee Ellis Ross.

Ava DuVernay was honored as the NAACP Entertainer of the Year. NAACP Chairman Leon W. Russell presented the NAACP Chairman’s Award to William Lucy, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson presented the NAACP President’s Award to Danny Glover and several members of the Memphis Sanitation “I Am A Man” Workers were also in attendance – they were presented with the NAACP Vanguard Award earlier in the week during a press conference at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.

Gap Band leader Charlie Wilson was honored with the Music Makes a Difference honor which is bestowed upon an individual within the recording industry who has achieved worthwhile success and inspiration for civic engagement, criminal justice, education, economic opportunity, or criminal justice.

“Girls Trip” triumphed as the winner in the Outstanding Motion Picture category, and picked up a second award for its breakout star Tiffany Haddish in the Supporting Actress category.

Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele‘s horror opus “Get Out” received three awards, including Best Actor honors for lead Daniel Kaluuya, and Best Director and Best Writing wins for Peele. “Black-ish” took home the award for best television series, while host Anderson won Best Actor, Tracee Ellis Ross repeated as Best Actress and Marsai Martin won for Best Supporting Actress in a TV series.

In recording, Bruno Mars took home awards for Outstanding Male Artist, Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album  and Outstanding Song – Traditional for “That’s What I Like.” Kendrick Lamar owned the Outstanding Album, Outstanding Song – Contemporary and Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration categories (the latter with Rihanna).

The winners of the 49th NAACP Image Awards in the non-televised categories were announced during a gala dinner celebration that took place Sunday, January 14, 2018, at the Pasadena Conference Center – the event was hosted by The Real’s Adrienne Houghton, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley.

The NAACP Image Awards is the premiere multicultural awards show. It celebrates the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.

For all information and the latest news, please visit the official NAACP Image Awards website at: http://www.naacpimageawards.net.

Below are all of the winners for the 49th NAACP Image Awards:

MOTION PICTURE

Outstanding Motion Picture – “Girls Trip” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture – Jordan Peele – “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture – Daniel Kaluuya – “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture – Octavia Spencer – “Gifted” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture – Idris Elba – “THOR: Ragnarok” (Marvel Studios)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – Tiffany Haddish – “Girls Trip” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture – “Detroit” (Annapurna Pictures)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture – Jordan Peele – “Get Out” (Universal Pictures) Continue reading ““Girls Trip, “Get Out,” “Black-ish,” Garner Multiple Wins at 49th NAACP Image Awards”

Donald Glover, Lena Waithe and Sterling K. Brown Make Emmy Awards History

Emmy Winners Donald Glover, Sterling K. Brown and Lena Waithe (photos via vibe.com)

by Camille Augustin via vibe.com

At the 69th edition of the Emmy Awards, there was more diversity among nominees, and therefore winners, than there has been in previous years. Compelling actor Sterling K. Brown took home the hardware for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role in NBC’s This Is Us. According to Entertainment Weekly, Brown is the first black actor to win the prize since Andre Braugher in 1998 for his role in Homicide: Life on the Street. During his backstage speech, Sterling reflectively acknowledged this achievement. “When I first got to [NYU] there was a poster of Gideon’s Crossing above the Public Theater, so I would see [Braugher’s] face all the time when I left my apartment to go to school,” he said, per The Ringer. “So, I’m bugging out. I never thought that this was a possibility, and to be standing here 19 years after him! I wanna represent.”

Another epic win went to Donald Glover, who became the first black director to garner the Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. For his brilliant acting in Atlanta, the “Redbone” artist (as Childish Gambino) became the first black performer to join the legion of comedic outstanding lead actors. The achievements kept pouring in as actress/screenwriter Lena Waithe went down in history as the first black woman to win Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for Master of None. She also won the hearts of the audience and viewers with her motivating acceptance speech to the LGBTQIA community.

To read more, go to: Sterling K. Brown, Lena Waithe, Donald Glover Make Emmys History

“Drumline” Helmer Charles Stone to Direct Comedy “Ain’t No Half Steppin”

charles stone
Director Charles Stone (photo via deadline.com)

Drumline helmer Charles Stone has boarded Broad Green Pictures’s Ain’t No Half Steppin, an upbeat comedy from screenwriter Chuck Hayward (Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life). Matt Alvarez (Straight Outta ComptonRide Along), Lena Waithe (Master of NoneDear White People) and Benjamin Cory Jones (Hand of God) are producing. Alvarez recently joined Broad Green’s development and production team in an exclusive pact.

Broad Green PicturesAin’t No Half Steppin follows an ambitious black sorority girl who, in order to get admitted to the law school of her dreams, agrees to cross culture lines and teach the exclusive art of black Greek stepping to a band of wild, Kardashian-obsessed white sorority girls whose charter is about to be revoked.

“I just skimmed the surface of black Greek life in Drumline,” Stone said in a statement. “Ain’t No Half Steppin gives me a chance to delve deep into the art of competitive stepping. Chuck and the producing team have put together a brilliant, smart comedy, which audaciously explores the dynamics and identity politics within black and white sororities.”

Released in 2002, Drumline starred Nick Cannon as a hot high school drummer who blazes into the university big leagues. It grossed $56.4M at the domestic B.O. off a $20M estimated budget and spawned a 2014 VH1 sequel, Drumline: A New Beat.

article by by Anthony D’Alessandro via deadline.com

Common Set to Produce Black Coming-Of-Age Drama For Showtime

'China: Through The Looking Glass' Costume Institute Benefit Gala - ArrivalsCommon has been acting for a while (“Selma”, “Now You See Me”, “Just Wright”, “Single Ladies”, “American Gangster”) , and now he’s starting to get in the game behind the scenes too. According to reports, Showtime picked up an untitled drama from Common, who will be producing a scripted drama with Lena Waithe, who is one of the producers of Dear White People. 

The show will be a coming-of-age drama that will explore the life of a young African-American male, in which simply growing up can be a matter of life and death. Waithe will write the script and executive produce the Fox 21 drama along with Common.

“The two creative forces behind the show, both hailing from Chicago’s South Side, give this pilot an unparalleled authenticity. Lena Waithe is an extremely fresh, talented young writer with a unique voice and a deeply thoughtful perspective into the world where she grew up. I immediately gravitated to her script, which is emotional, funny, tragic and relevant, all at once. And, we are so fortunate to have artist and visionary Common for his first producing project in scripted television,” said Showtime president David Nelson in a statement.

I get the feeling that this story will be loosely based on Common’s own life growing up in Chicago. It’s cool that cable networks are starting to get more on board with diversity in TV programming.

article by Starr Rhett Roque via hellobeautiful.com

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