Lena Waithe. A 20-something writer, producer, creative, college graduate and perhaps most importantly: Hillman Alum.
Her favorite movie is Do the Right Thing, favorite color, purple and she prefers The Wizard of Oz to The Wiz. (The ViP staff is split on that last one.)
Now, the above facts are enough alone to make her a friend to TÆLOR’D•EXISTENCE & The Visibility Project. The facts below are why she should be a friend of yours – metaphorically of course.
Waithe is currently a writer on the Fox series, Bones. She’s worked for Gina Prince-Bythewood…and knows her personally. She produced the Sundance Film Fest winner, Dear White People, which was recently acquired by Lionsgate. Moreover, she’s the writer/creator of Twenties, a ripped-from-her-diary new comedy backed by Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit.
Wait. Did I mention she’s a Black woman or – I literally had to check just now – which I think is the most amazing thing about all of this.
In the midst of all this discovery I got a piece of advice that is just as profound as it is simple and obvious. When asked what advice to young women she’d profer, Waithe responded, “Work for people that are doing what you want to do,” a follow-up to the statement, “Specificity is your friend. Be really specific…have an endgame.”
Lena Waithe could have totally been the keynote speaker at my Hillman commencement ceremony – the first one I mean. Because, you know, I went back to school for a second time last fall.
Check out a few of the things we’ve curated from around the web:
Q’s w/ Lena Waithe:
Lena Waithe featured in Columbia College Chicago’s Demo Magazine:
If you haven’t heard of Lena Waithe (BA ’06) yet, you will soon. At 29, she’s poised to be the next big Hollywood voice. She’s an accomplished screenwriter; the producer of a hot new feature film, Dear White People; and the creator of a stylish new comedy, Twenties (already drawing comparisons to HBO’s millennial-centric Girls).
When Chicago-born Waithe came to Columbia, she knew she wanted to be a TV writer. She threw herself into her studies, particularly writing courses. She calls the writing class she took with associate professor Michael Fry “life changing.”
“He gave me the fundamentals,” Waithe says of Fry. “He doesn’t hand out A’s a lot—an A means you really have something.” Her final project was a script for the UPN/CW comedy series Girlfriends. After receiving a hard-won A, she approached Fry for advice. “I asked him whether I really did have something, and he said, ‘You do. You have it. Go to L.A.,’” she says.
So she did. At the end of her senior year, Waithe completed Columbia’s Semester in LA program, a five-week immersive experience with industry professionals—and never left. | KEEP READING
Waithe’s Interview on Take Part Live:
Dear White People Clip – “Black People Can’t Be Racist”:
Sidenote, please check out this piece that features DJ Pierce better known as Shangela – my favorite queen. I live.
As stated previously, expect to see a lot more from The Visibility Project on Lena Waithe.