From her groundbreaking writing ventures, to a major movie role, and even a swoon-worthy Met Gala getup, Lena Waithe continues to sweep us off our feet. Now, MTV is set to recognize the writer and actress’s accomplishments in film and TV at the 2018 MTV Movie Awards as this year’s Trailblazer.
The Trailblazer award is a relatively new category for the show. The award “recognizes game-changing creators with fresh and fearless voices in entertainment.” Emma Stone was the trailblazing trailblazer, if you will, earning MTV’s first-ever honor in 2012.
“Lena is shaking up Hollywood and breaking cultural boundaries through her innovative and authentic storytelling,” said Amy Doyle, General Manager MTV, VH1 and Logo. “Her unwavering passion for equality and inclusion make her the perfect recipient for this year’s Trailblazer Award.”
Last year, Waithe was the first woman of color to win an Emmy for Comedy Writing when shetook home the award for her work on an episode ofMaster of None. She also starred in the autobiographical episode (“Thanksgiving”)where her character, Denise,came out to her family. Since then, the 34-year-old created Showtime’s The Chi, which premiered in January, and is currently working on Season 2. This spring, Waithe made her feature film debut starring in Ready Player One as Aech. The showrunner is also currently writing a TBS series titled Twenties, which is loosely based on her real-life experiences as a 20-something queer Black woman in Los Angeles.
Waithe has made a point to center queerness in her work, both on-screen and off. Her portrayal of Aech as an MOC woman of color in a major motion picture, a Spielberg film no less, isn’t something we typically see on the silver screenbut hopefully something we’ll see a lot more of. Waithe also makes a point to elevate those around hershe’s currently mentoring young, diverse writers as part of a partnership with The Black List.
She also wears her queerness on her sleeve. Earlier this month, the entertainer attended the 2018 Met Ball Gala, dressing for the “Heavenly Bodies” theme in a symbolic rainbow flag cape, a biting rebuke of the Church’s history of homophobia.
Waithe will be honored at the MTV Movie Awards ceremony, hosted by Tiffany Haddish, on June 18th. Last year, the network decided to stop gendering their awards, and that new tradition will continue this year with genderless categories.
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