Lena Waithe has officially made history by becoming the first African American woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing for her “Thanksgiving” episode in the Netflix series Master of None!  She co-wrote the episode with the series creator Aziz Ansari.

Mindy Kaling became the first woman of color to be nominated in the comedy writing category in 2010 for her work on The Office and Ashley Nicole Black was nominated for outstanding writing in a variety series for her work on Full Frontal With Samantha Bee.  Waithe’s nomination is a major win for women who are underrepresented both in front of and behind the camera.  She’s not only breaking barriers, but she is on her way to becoming one of the most powerful players in media.

“Thanksgiving,” the eighth episode of Master of None Season 2 is a moving exploration of sexual identity, and tracks Denise’s (Waithe) relationship with her mother over multiple years. Each part takes place during a different Thanksgiving, as Denise discovers her sexuality and slowly reveals it to her mom (Angela Basset), aunt, and grandmother.

Waithe shared with TV Guide that the episode was inspired by her own experience coming out. She said she didn’t initially intend to bring such aspects of her life to the show but later changed her mind after Ansari encouraged her to share her story.

Waithe served as one of the producers of the hit indie film Dear White People.  She has also written for Bones and was the creator of the popular web series Hello Cupid.   She was named one of The Hollywood Reporters’ Fall 2015 Ten TV Breakout Stars for her role on Netflix’s award-winning Master of None, and was named as one of Variety’s 2014 “Top 10 Comics to Watch.”  Waithe is now producing her own drama series on Showtime, The Chi, about a handful of black men on the South Side of Chicago, where she’s from, and developing a pilot about her experience living in Los Angeles in her 20s. She’ll also appear in Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of Ready Player One, which is set to premiere in March 2018.

Congratulations Lena on this amazing milestone!

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About The Author

Founder, HBR Media

K. Nicole Mills is the Founder of HBR Media. She transitioned from Wall Street to television and film development, and has worked at NBCUniversal, Universal Pictures, and Showtime Networks. She currently develops digital programming for premium networks. Reach out anytime! info@hbrmedia.org

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