Remember last summer when we told you Black queer writer/producer Lena Waithe had created a series called Twenties that was pretty much everything we’ve ever wanted in a show? Well, that pilot presentation Waithe was shopping around has found a home at BET. The network has signed her to write a pilot based on the series, which follows a Black queer twentysomething woman, Hattie, and her friends who are all trying to get it together.
ELIXHER talked to Waithe for our fall/winter 2013 magazine issue’s “Out & Black in Hollywood” feature where she shared, “I was really inspired by my life and my experiences. I was inspired by Lena Dunham [the creator of HBO series Girls] and I was wondering how awesome it would be if there was a Black version of this. I thought it was cool that Lena Dunham was being very vulnerable and being very honest; I wanted to do that.” (Download the digital version or order your print copy of the issue to read our full interview with Lena!)
Although the show had been getting a lot of buzz on- and off-line, Waithe received some pushback. A lot of networks either thought there wasn’t an audience for it or that the show already existed. (Um…where?!)
“Film has always had a major impact on my life,” she told ELIXHER. “There’s something about the media that is so powerful because it’s in your living room, your home. And you [form a lasting] connection to the characters that you are watching.”
The up-and-comer boasts a highly impressive resume. Her big break came when she was interning at a company that reps television writers. Waithe eventually got a job working for the Girlfriends writing team and got to know creator Mara Brock Ali (also the mastermind behind Being Mary Jane). She went on to work for Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Secret Life of Bees, Love and Basketball, Disappearing Acts).
When asked why she decided to write the lead as a quirky Black queer girl, her response was simple:
“Hattie is my truth,” said Waithe. “She just so happened to be a gay girl, but not a typical gay girl. And that’s how I see myself. She’s that way because of me.”
Waithe is also the producer of the film Dear White People, which hits theaters October 17 and a writer for Fox’s Bones. To top it all off, she’s working on a project with fellow producer and writer Issa Rae. #winning