I use the word badassa lot and dont want to risk making it meaningless through overuse, but Lena Waithe is a massive badassand her career is just taking off! Heres why you should pay attention to it.

She co-produced Dear White People, a satirical college movie set for theatrical release on October 17. She and Justin Simien, Dear White People’s writer and director, became friends through Twitter, teamed up, and drummed up interest in Dear White People by releasing a teaser that got a tremendous response, causing the movie to be greenlit. Dear White People’s Indiegogo campaign also raised far more than was requested for its pre-production, which didn’t hurt.

Apparently when Lena and Justin released the teaser, they didn’t expect the extent of the response it got. It provided a great lesson about the power of what exposure on the internet can do for a new project looking for a wide release, which Lena used for her upcoming TV show Twenties.

Twenties is Lenas baby more than Dear White People, since she is its creator and writer. Before Dear White People, she did editing, production assistant, and writing work on a sizeable list of TV shows and movies, including Girlfriends, How to Rock, The Real World, and The Secret Life of Bees.

In an Indiewire interview, she said, Twenties is the most personal script Ive ever written and I dont think its a surprise that its also gotten me the most attention. People like it when you tell the truth. And this is mine. But I also think its universal. Because who cant relate to being in your twenties and sucking at life? Its a magical time when you dont have to have everything figured out. Its a ten-year window when youre free to have awkward sex, unhealthy friendships, and a boss you cant stand. Usually when you see young black women on television theyre either perfect and pristine, or theyre trying to accidentally get pregnant by a professional athlete. Theres very little middle ground. And the truth is thats where most of us live. Somewhere in the middle.

You can watch Twentiespilot presentation, produced by Queen Latifahs Flavor Unit and directed by Dear White Peoples Justin, here, here, here, and here. Lena used the internet to drum up hype again by encouraging everyone who liked the pilot presentation to share it with twenty people (hurr, get it?) they know.

Like Dear White People with its black central cast, Twenties, focusing on a gay black woman and her friends, was a project Lena figured would be hard to shop, but BET snapped it up for syndication. A premiere date hasnt been set just yet.

Clearly after years of climbing up the Hollywood ladder, she isnt slowing down, and Im excited to see the results of it. Check out the latest trailer for Dear White People here: 

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