Actress, Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe to speak on campus


E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Lena Waithe. Waithe, an Emmy-winning writer and actress, will speak on campus Feb. 15.

Allie Goulding, Assistant Campus Editor

Lena Waithe, an actress and Emmy Award-winning writer, will speak at Northwestern on Feb. 15 in a moderated conversation and Q&A session, according to a Thursday news release.

Waithe is known for writing and starring in the Netflix show “Master Of None” and is the creator and executive producer of the new Showtime series “The Chi.” In 2017, she became the first black woman to win the Emmy for outstanding writing for a comedy series for the “Master Of None” episode “Thanksgiving,” which was based on her own coming-out story.

The event is co-sponsored by the Contemporary Thought Speaker Series, Multicultural Filmmakers Collective, Northwestern University Women Filmmakers Alliance and Rainbow Alliance.

“We think that Lena is at the forefront of a really important shift in terms of societal changes that are going on concerning Time’s Up, representation of people of color, people of LGBTQIA (identities) and people in media,” CTSS vice president Emmanuelle Gers told The Daily. “It makes so much sense for her to come and talk about all the different projects she’s involved in and how we as individuals can make more of a conscious effort to be more socially aware.”

Waithe is a Chicago native who moved to Evanston at 12 years old and graduated from Evanston Township High School. She first worked as a directorial assistant to Ava DuVernay, then went on to write for shows including “Bones” and “Dear White People.”

Waithe also helped launch the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and will serve on a branch of the group that focuses on assisting LGBTQ people and people of color.

“Hearing her story … will be really interesting considering how she’s been in the business a while and she’s just broken through recently,” CTSS chairman Ben Zimmermann said. “I think hearing her personal experience will be really valuable for lots of people interested in that.”

Communication Prof. Zina Camblin will moderate the conversation and Q&A session. The event will take place at 7 p.m. in Ryan Auditorium in the Technological Institute.

Free tickets are available online through Eventbrite and are reserved for NU students, faculty and staff, according to a news release.

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