This year's Emmy Awards were full of historical moments, including Lena Waithe's incredible and well-deserved win. On Sunday night, the Master of None actress became the first black woman to win an award for comedy writing for the show's "Thanksgiving" episode, which she cowrote with Aziz Ansari. Aside from thanking Netflix for "creating a beautiful playground" for them "to play and shine on," the 33-year-old gave some truly inspiring words to the LGBTQ+ community. Here are just a few things you should know about the groundbreaking actress.
- She is a Chicago native. Lena was born and raised in Chicago and grew up on the South Side of the city.
- This isn't the first time her comedic talents have been recognized. In 2014, she was named one of Variety's 10 Comedians to Watch.
- Master of None isn't her first rodeo. Aside from writing and starring on the Netflix series, Lena has been a writer for Fox's Bones and the Nickelodeon sitcom How to Rock and a producer on the film Dear White People.
- Her Master of None character was originally going to be a white, straight woman. According to Lena, her character Denise was originally written as a potential love interest for Aziz's character. But after Aziz and his cocreator Alan Yang met with Lena, they decided to rewrite the character to be more like her.
- The "Thanksgiving" episode was inspired by her own coming-out story. After having a long conversation with the show's creators about how she came out to her family, Lena explained, Aziz called her up and asked her to write the "Thanksgiving" episode from her own experience. Even though there was "some creative license" involved, many pieces from the set were actually from her mom's home.