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Lena Waithe Is The First Black Woman To Win An Emmy For Comedy Writing

She claimed the honor for writing Master of None's acclaimed "Thanksgiving" episode with Aziz Ansari.

Posted on September 17, 2017, at 9:35 p.m. ET


Ansari and Waithe at The Emmys.

Lena Waithe just became the first black woman to ever win the Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series — she's also the first black woman to ever be nominated for the award. Waithe won for co-writing Master of None's "Thanksgiving" episode with Aziz Ansari, who won in this category last year with Alan Yang for co-writing the show's "Parents" episode.

Ansari gave Waithe the microphone for their acceptance speech, during which, she took a moment to address her "LGBTQIA family." She said, "I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different, those are our superpowers. Every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world... because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren't in it."


Angela Bassett and Lena Waithe in Master of None.

In the press room, Waithe told reporters that her wish is for this historic win to embolden those in positions of power to offer opportunities to a more diverse pool of writers. "I hope it will open up people's eyes to give women of color a seat at the table so they can tell their stories."

It echoed comments she made in August while talking about her Emmy nomination during a GLAAD panel. Waithe said it speaks to the fact the industry is progressing — but added that there's still a long way to go, and mentorship is a big part of that evolution.

"We still have a lot of work to do and I’m fighting to make sure that happens," Waithe said at the time. "I’m definitely really involved in mentorship ... because the only way it’s going to actually change is for us to not just sort of talk about it, but to look people in the eye who say, 'I want to be a writer,' and go, 'Okay, great. Give me your script. Let me take a look at it. Here’s how you can make it better,' because, again, it’s a matter of greatness. It’s, like, you have to be great to get in there. I’m still striving for greatness, but I think the biggest thing is to make sure that people of color have some guidance and some mentorship to help them get to that place. Otherwise, they don’t get in those rooms. Or they get in the rooms and they fail. That’s problematic. So I’m just sort of actively trying to help make sure people have opportunities."

Additional reporting by Susan Cheng.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.