According to a report from Vibe.com, Lena Waithe believes big names in Hollywood have a bigger role to play when it comes to supporting black creators. The Chi showrunner insinuated people such as Will Smith and Denzel Washington could do more for the black independent film industry.
During a conversation with The New York Times recently, Lena Waithe said to the outlet there is a lack of financial support for black-made films, and people with powerful names in the scene should do more to help, such as the aforementioned stars.
Waithe, 35, has a new production coming out right now called Queen and Slim, starring Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya, and Waithe wholeheartedly believes that had it not been for the success of movies such as Get Out and Moonlight, there’s no way her latest project would’ve gotten support from major studios.
I find Lena Waithe's criticism of the established members of black Hollywood to be fair.
The majority of them are not financing multiple black indie films. They're financing their own vehicles (which is fine), but . . . it comes back to what she said.
— Genie Lauren Stan Account (@MoreAndAgain) June 22, 2019
Waithe said to the outlet that she knows of a few big stars who could easily finance potentially five different movies directed by black people. According to Lena, if it weren’t for Brad Pitt’s support of Moonlight or Steve McQueen’s support of 12 Years A Slave, her movie wouldn’t have been created.
“Wasn’t Denzel. Wasn’t Will Smith,” the writer/actress remarked. Waithe’s comments were published by the New York Times, coincidentally, on the same day that Washington received the 47th Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the industry.
He was honored by Jodie Foster and Morgan Freeman. According to Vibe, her comments received mixed reactions from social media users, with some stating that black artists don’t have to support other creators if they don’t choose to.
Lena came to prominence as a writer and actress on Aziz Ansari’s series, The Master Of None. Aziz hasn’t been without controversy either, however, with the showrunner and comedian receiving sexual misconduct allegations as well.
An anonymous letter published on Babe.net accused Aziz of pressuring a woman into oral sex with him. Ironically, Aziz was gearing up to attend the SAG Awards on account of his nomination that very same year.