Lena Waithe

Multi-talented Lena Waithe made her name as a writer and producer on the likes of "The Real World" (MTV, 1992-), "Bones" (Fox, 2005-17) and "Dear White People" (2014) before stepping in front of the camera in Aziz Ansari comedy "Master of None" (Netflix, 2015-). Born in Chicago, IL in 1984, Waithe graduated from Columbia College with a degree in writing, producing and television and shortly after landed her first job as an editorial assistant on ground-breaking reality show "The Real World" (MTV, 1992-). Waithe went onto assist in the production of long-running sitcom "Girlfriends" (UPN, 2000-08) and several "E! Live from the Red Carpet" (E!, 1996-) specials, as well as the big screen adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd's fable "The Secret Life of Bees" (2008), Biggie Smalls biopic "Notorious" (2009) and Ava DuVernay's feature film debut "I Will Follow" (2010). After taking the director's chair herself on "Save Me" (2011), a short film about a 9-year-old boy's quest to find the man who saved his life, Waithe penned two episodes of kids musical comedy "How to Rock" (Nickelodeon, 2012), served as producer on race relations satire "Dear White People" (2014) and joined the staff of writers on crime procedural "Bones" (Fox, 2005-). Following a one-off appearance in Lisa Kudrow's meta-comedy "The Comeback" (HBO, 2005-), Waithe landed her first recurring acting gig as Dev's best friend Denise in "Master of None" (Netflix, 2015-). In September 2017, Waithe became the first black woman to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, for co-writing the second-season "Master of None" episode "Thanksgiving" with Ansari. Her impassioned acceptance speech was one of the night's most memorable moments.