Lena Waithe is Vanity Fair's April cover star, and the lengthy profile attached covers a lot of ground. With interviews from her old boss Ava DuVernary, her Ready Player One director Stephen Spielberg, and Common, who executive produces her TV show The Chi, explore just how hard Waithe works, and how much that work has paid off. Last year, she became the first black woman to win an Emmy for writing in a comedy series for a highly personal episode of Master of None. Now, she tells Vanity Fair that she's using that success to bring others like her into the room.
“How has the Emmy changed me?" she told the magazine. "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."
Elsewhere in the interview, she talks about how helping people in the industry felt like a part of her activism before movements like Time's Up labeled it as such.
“I have a ton of mentees,” she says. “They’re all people of color. Some of them are poor. And I’m just trying to help them learn how to be great writers; and for those that have become really good writers, I help them get representation; and those that have representation, I want to help get them jobs. That to me is a form of activism. I was doing this before Time’s Up was created. I am doing it now. Activism is me paying for a writer to go to a television-writing class.”
Read the full interview here.