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Lena Waithe (free)

  • Union South Varsity Hall 1308 West Dayton Street Madison, WI, 53715 United States (map)
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Though she's known for her portrayal of Denise, best friend and confidante to Aziz Ansari's character Dev on Master Of None, Lena Waithe the person is reportedly not too different from her on-screen persona. So much so, that Ms. Waithe's recent Emmy win for comedy writing (the first earned by a Black woman, by the way) was for a Master Of None episode, based very much in her personal history, that details her experience as a teenager coming out as lesbian to her mother.

In her moving acceptance speech for that Emmy, Ms. Waithe shouted out to her "LGBTQIA family," and here, she'll speak about her experiences being a Black queer woman in Hollywood. She'll also talk about her background growing up on the South side of Chicago, a history that she's also transformed into an on-screen narrative (in collaboration with hip-hop star Common!) by co-producing The Chi, a very cinematic, very moving Showtime drama about gun violence and life on Chicago's South side that premiered in early 2018. —Chali Pittman