Rolling Out

How Lena Waithe feels about Emmy victory, serving as ABFF ambassador

The industry giant spoke to ‘rolling out’ during American Black Film Festival

Lena Waithe is a production giant. The actress, producer and screenwriter has provided a platform for Black queer women to thrive in the entertainment space.


At the American Black Film Festival in Miami, Waithe stopped by and spoke with rolling out about her career and accomplishments.


So much of your work centers around the experiences of underrepresented communities. Why is that?

I think because if we’re underrepresented, it means that we just need advocacy. We need to be seen, we need to be heard and I think if we can’t, we have to really demand that space. We can’t accept this waiting for someone to give it to us, and I think we’re seeing a lot of that right now.


What’s the most significant impact of the Lena Waithe effect on the entertainment industry? 

I have no idea. That’s not for me to say, man. Lena is just trying to make an honest living.

In 2017, you received an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for “Master of None.” What was that like to be recognized for your work?

There’s a saying in Hollywood, “It’s an honor to be nominated.” It really is an honor to be nominated. I have to be honest because somebody acknowledges the work and there’s so much great television, there are so many great movies that come out. Whenever you’re mentioned among other people who are doing really great work you respect, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s lovely and humbling.

You’re serving as an ambassador for the 2023 ABFF. What has that experience been like and what do you hope to accomplish?

The experience has been phenomenal. What I hope to accomplish is to continue to encourage people that they don’t have to do it the way they thought they were supposed to.

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