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Lena Waithe

Emmy Award-Winning Screenwriter, Producer & Actress

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Lena Waithe Biography

Emmy®-winning writer, producer, actor, and founder and chair of Hillman Grad Lena Waithe continues to lead the cultural revolution in Hollywood with creativity, diversity, and charisma. Waithe expertly taps into emerging societal trends with a sharp wit, speaking to myriad experiences from her unique perspective, while challenging audiences to think outside of conventional norms.

With her impressive eye for discovering and spotlighting underrepresented voices, Waithe navigates the intersection of business and entertainment in conjunction with her own production company, Hillman Grad Productions. The company passionately fights against the status quo by giving marginalized storytellers the platform and opportunity to access the industry, while allowing them to tell their stories. The comprehensive slate includes projects at Warner Bros, Netflix, BET, Disney, Amazon, Universal, Focus and MGM. Recently, Hillman Grad Productions signed an exclusive overall deal with Warner Bros. Television Group. Through their partnership, Waithe and Hillman Grad CEO, Rishi Rajani, will produce new television programming for all platforms, including WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, external streaming services, cable and the five broadcast networks.

In their first project under the deal, Waithe, who also serves as executive producer, and Hillman Grad are currently developing a scripted drama inspired by the landmark documentary film Hoop Dreams. Written by Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, the coming-of-age drama will follow two African American teenage boys in 1990s Chicago experiencing the privileges and pitfalls of being high school basketball phenoms at the height of the Jordan era, and the start of high school players turning pro. Through their friendship and rivalry, the boys must learn to empower themselves in a world that considers them commodities. Waithe and Hillman Grad Productions will also produce a Sammy Davis Jr. biopic for MGM along with Sight Unseen’s Julia Lebedev and Eddie Vaisman. Additionally, they have teamed up with Focus Features, Sight Unseen, and Makeready on the feature directorial debut of A.V. Rockwell, for her film A Thousand and One.

Waithe’s previous first-look deal was with Showtime, where she first created and executive produced the critically acclaimed series "The Chi," which is entering its fifth season. The Showtime drama series is a relevant, timely, and distinctive coming-of-age story that follows six interrelated characters in Chicago’s South Side. The show has received a Peabody Award nomination, and Waithe received two NAACP Image Award nominations.

Currently on-air is Waithe’s semi-autobiographical series, "Twenties," which she writes and executive produces for BET. The show has been praised for being the first primetime series starring a masculine presenting Queer woman of color in a lead role. Because of this, Twenties was selected as a finalist for MIPCOM’s Diversity TV Excellence Awards in the category of “Excellence Award for Representation of Race and Ethnicity – Scripted” and nominated for a 2021 GLAAD Media Award in the category of “Outstanding Comedy Series.” The nomination was BET’s first GLAAD nomination in the television space, further cementing its impact on the industry as an example of overdue intersectionality between BIPOC and the LGBTQ+ community. For the second season, both Waithe and Rajani executive produced "Twenties the After Show," a half-hour show that explored key themes in each week’s episode of Twenties and highlighted an esteemed roster of Black LGBTQ+ voices, giving them the platform to share their personal experiences with the world.

Hillman Grad Productions goes above and beyond to provide a platform and fellowship for diverse voices on the rise through the Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab, which is entering its second year of programming. The lab offers opportunities for marginalized storytellers to connect, grow, and accelerate their careers in television and film through personalized instruction from industry professionals in the fields of television writing, screen acting, and executive development. While Hillman Grad Productions has already mentored roughly 600 actors, 120 writers/directors, and 30 producers, the 2021 Class was the first group to go through the official Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab.

In 2021, Hillman Grad Productions partnered with Def Jam Recordings to announce the creation of Hillman Grad Records, a label that's committed to identifying and developing underrepresented artists and priming them for long-term success in the music industry. Def Jam Interim CEO Jeff Harleston and former Colombia Records and Soundcloud executives Tebs Maqubela and Albert Cooke join Waithe and Hillman Grad in discovering new voices and amplify their storytelling abilities across music, TV, and film.

In another effort to amplify underrepresented voices, Waithe and Hillman Grad have partnered with independent book publishing company Zando. As one of Zando’s first founding publishing partners, Hillman Grad will acquire and publish four to six books over a three-year period, including memoirs, young adult titles and literary fiction. Hillman Grad Productions has also partnered with Indeed to create the Rising Voices program, which is now entering its second season. The initiative aims to discover, invest in, and share stories created by BIPOC filmmakers & storytellers around the power and meaning of work. The 2021 program awarded a $100K production budget for 10 short films which premiered at The Tribeca Festival in New York and created over 600 jobs. Waithe serves as one of the executive producers for the short films to ensure all have extensive mentorship from working creatives, such as award-winning director Melina Matsoukas and music video directors, Paul Hunter and Calmatic, as well as have line production crews for their projects.

On the acting front, Waithe can be currently seen in the critically acclaimed third season of "Master of None: Moments in Love," which Waithe also co-wrote and executive produced, on Netflix. The Guardian and The Independent praised the season with five stars and Kevin EG Perry deemed it, “the most raw, honest and utterly compelling portrait of a relationship that’s likely to be produced this year.” Inkoo Kang of The Hollywood Reporter also praised, “[the show] truly dazzles, pushing Master of None out of its comfort zone of lovelorn pining into emotional and ethical complexities that never lose their sense of headlong romance.” The role was originally intended for a straight, Caucasian female, yet Waithe has made Denise’s experience as a queer Black woman uniquely her own. In the second season, Waithe co-wrote the “Thanksgiving” episode, for which she received an Emmy Award in the category of “Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series,” making her the first Black woman to ever do so, and a NAACP Image Award nomination. She also appeared in the third season of HBO’s "Westworld" and in Justin Simien’s horror satire Bad Hair which premiered to rave reviews at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was quickly purchased by Hulu for distribution. Previous acting credits include Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, Disney’s Onward, Showtime’s "The Chi," Netflix’s "#BlackAF" and their animated series "Big Mouth," Quibi’s "You Ain't Got These," NBC’s "This is Us," and many more.

Waithe made her feature film screenwriting debut with Universal’s Queen & Slim, directed by Melina Matsoukas and starring Academy Award® nominee Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner. The film opened to incredible box office success and received rave reviews for its “thought-provoking, profound and deeply affecting” storytelling, as mentioned by The Wrap’s Todd Gilchrist. The film received a myriad of accolades including two AAFCA awards, seven NAACP Image Awards nominations, one award at the annual National Board of Review Gala, and “Best Picture” at the BET AWARDS.

For her countless television successes, Waithe was named The Hollywood Reporter’s 2020 “TV Producer of the Year,” making her the youngest to receive the massive honor. In 2019, she was honored with the “Creative Impact in Producing Award” at the Palm Springs Film Festival. Waithe was also selected by the American Black Film Festival Honors to receive the “Industry Renaissance Award,” which recognizes content creators whose exemplary work in film and television contributes to changing perceptions of people of color in the entertainment industry.

Waithe is an advocate for queer representation throughout the industry and has been honored with such recognitions as The New York City LGBT Community Center’s “Trailblazer Award,” a GLAAD “Media Award,” The Trevor Project's “Hero Award,” the MTV Awards “Trailblazer Award,” named OUT Magazine’s “Artist of the Year” and featured on the cover of the OUT 100 annual issue, and featured in numerous LGBTQ impact lists and Pride issues across publications such as The Hollywood Reporter, Fast Company, Variety, and more.

Waithe grew up in Chicago and currently resides in Los Angeles.

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FAQs
  • HOW TO BOOK Lena Waithe?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Lena Waithe for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Lena Waithe, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Lena Waithe or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Lena Waithe?

    Booking fees for Lena Waithe, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Lena Waithe, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Lena Waithe?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Lena Waithe for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Lena Waithe for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Lena Waithe or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Lena Waithe or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

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Emmy Award-Winning Screenwriter, Producer & Actress

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Los Angeles, CA, USA
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Lena Waithe Biography

Emmy®-winning writer, producer, actor, and founder and chair of Hillman Grad Lena Waithe continues to lead the cultural revolution in Hollywood with creativity, diversity, and charisma. Waithe expertly taps into emerging societal trends with a sharp wit, speaking to myriad experiences from her unique perspective, while challenging audiences to think outside of conventional norms.

With her impressive eye for discovering and spotlighting underrepresented voices, Waithe navigates the intersection of business and entertainment in conjunction with her own production company, Hillman Grad Productions. The company passionately fights against the status quo by giving marginalized storytellers the platform and opportunity to access the industry, while allowing them to tell their stories. The comprehensive slate includes projects at Warner Bros, Netflix, BET, Disney, Amazon, Universal, Focus and MGM. Recently, Hillman Grad Productions signed an exclusive overall deal with Warner Bros. Television Group. Through their partnership, Waithe and Hillman Grad CEO, Rishi Rajani, will produce new television programming for all platforms, including WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, external streaming services, cable and the five broadcast networks.

In their first project under the deal, Waithe, who also serves as executive producer, and Hillman Grad are currently developing a scripted drama inspired by the landmark documentary film Hoop Dreams. Written by Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, the coming-of-age drama will follow two African American teenage boys in 1990s Chicago experiencing the privileges and pitfalls of being high school basketball phenoms at the height of the Jordan era, and the start of high school players turning pro. Through their friendship and rivalry, the boys must learn to empower themselves in a world that considers them commodities. Waithe and Hillman Grad Productions will also produce a Sammy Davis Jr. biopic for MGM along with Sight Unseen’s Julia Lebedev and Eddie Vaisman. Additionally, they have teamed up with Focus Features, Sight Unseen, and Makeready on the feature directorial debut of A.V. Rockwell, for her film A Thousand and One.

Waithe’s previous first-look deal was with Showtime, where she first created and executive produced the critically acclaimed series "The Chi," which is entering its fifth season. The Showtime drama series is a relevant, timely, and distinctive coming-of-age story that follows six interrelated characters in Chicago’s South Side. The show has received a Peabody Award nomination, and Waithe received two NAACP Image Award nominations.

Currently on-air is Waithe’s semi-autobiographical series, "Twenties," which she writes and executive produces for BET. The show has been praised for being the first primetime series starring a masculine presenting Queer woman of color in a lead role. Because of this, Twenties was selected as a finalist for MIPCOM’s Diversity TV Excellence Awards in the category of “Excellence Award for Representation of Race and Ethnicity – Scripted” and nominated for a 2021 GLAAD Media Award in the category of “Outstanding Comedy Series.” The nomination was BET’s first GLAAD nomination in the television space, further cementing its impact on the industry as an example of overdue intersectionality between BIPOC and the LGBTQ+ community. For the second season, both Waithe and Rajani executive produced "Twenties the After Show," a half-hour show that explored key themes in each week’s episode of Twenties and highlighted an esteemed roster of Black LGBTQ+ voices, giving them the platform to share their personal experiences with the world.

Hillman Grad Productions goes above and beyond to provide a platform and fellowship for diverse voices on the rise through the Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab, which is entering its second year of programming. The lab offers opportunities for marginalized storytellers to connect, grow, and accelerate their careers in television and film through personalized instruction from industry professionals in the fields of television writing, screen acting, and executive development. While Hillman Grad Productions has already mentored roughly 600 actors, 120 writers/directors, and 30 producers, the 2021 Class was the first group to go through the official Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab.

In 2021, Hillman Grad Productions partnered with Def Jam Recordings to announce the creation of Hillman Grad Records, a label that's committed to identifying and developing underrepresented artists and priming them for long-term success in the music industry. Def Jam Interim CEO Jeff Harleston and former Colombia Records and Soundcloud executives Tebs Maqubela and Albert Cooke join Waithe and Hillman Grad in discovering new voices and amplify their storytelling abilities across music, TV, and film.

In another effort to amplify underrepresented voices, Waithe and Hillman Grad have partnered with independent book publishing company Zando. As one of Zando’s first founding publishing partners, Hillman Grad will acquire and publish four to six books over a three-year period, including memoirs, young adult titles and literary fiction. Hillman Grad Productions has also partnered with Indeed to create the Rising Voices program, which is now entering its second season. The initiative aims to discover, invest in, and share stories created by BIPOC filmmakers & storytellers around the power and meaning of work. The 2021 program awarded a $100K production budget for 10 short films which premiered at The Tribeca Festival in New York and created over 600 jobs. Waithe serves as one of the executive producers for the short films to ensure all have extensive mentorship from working creatives, such as award-winning director Melina Matsoukas and music video directors, Paul Hunter and Calmatic, as well as have line production crews for their projects.

On the acting front, Waithe can be currently seen in the critically acclaimed third season of "Master of None: Moments in Love," which Waithe also co-wrote and executive produced, on Netflix. The Guardian and The Independent praised the season with five stars and Kevin EG Perry deemed it, “the most raw, honest and utterly compelling portrait of a relationship that’s likely to be produced this year.” Inkoo Kang of The Hollywood Reporter also praised, “[the show] truly dazzles, pushing Master of None out of its comfort zone of lovelorn pining into emotional and ethical complexities that never lose their sense of headlong romance.” The role was originally intended for a straight, Caucasian female, yet Waithe has made Denise’s experience as a queer Black woman uniquely her own. In the second season, Waithe co-wrote the “Thanksgiving” episode, for which she received an Emmy Award in the category of “Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series,” making her the first Black woman to ever do so, and a NAACP Image Award nomination. She also appeared in the third season of HBO’s "Westworld" and in Justin Simien’s horror satire Bad Hair which premiered to rave reviews at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was quickly purchased by Hulu for distribution. Previous acting credits include Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, Disney’s Onward, Showtime’s "The Chi," Netflix’s "#BlackAF" and their animated series "Big Mouth," Quibi’s "You Ain't Got These," NBC’s "This is Us," and many more.

Waithe made her feature film screenwriting debut with Universal’s Queen & Slim, directed by Melina Matsoukas and starring Academy Award® nominee Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner. The film opened to incredible box office success and received rave reviews for its “thought-provoking, profound and deeply affecting” storytelling, as mentioned by The Wrap’s Todd Gilchrist. The film received a myriad of accolades including two AAFCA awards, seven NAACP Image Awards nominations, one award at the annual National Board of Review Gala, and “Best Picture” at the BET AWARDS.

For her countless television successes, Waithe was named The Hollywood Reporter’s 2020 “TV Producer of the Year,” making her the youngest to receive the massive honor. In 2019, she was honored with the “Creative Impact in Producing Award” at the Palm Springs Film Festival. Waithe was also selected by the American Black Film Festival Honors to receive the “Industry Renaissance Award,” which recognizes content creators whose exemplary work in film and television contributes to changing perceptions of people of color in the entertainment industry.

Waithe is an advocate for queer representation throughout the industry and has been honored with such recognitions as The New York City LGBT Community Center’s “Trailblazer Award,” a GLAAD “Media Award,” The Trevor Project's “Hero Award,” the MTV Awards “Trailblazer Award,” named OUT Magazine’s “Artist of the Year” and featured on the cover of the OUT 100 annual issue, and featured in numerous LGBTQ impact lists and Pride issues across publications such as The Hollywood Reporter, Fast Company, Variety, and more.

Waithe grew up in Chicago and currently resides in Los Angeles.

Lena Waithe Videos

  • Lena Waithe's Secret to Doing Everything: Not All At Once | Inc.
    How did Lena Waithe get started and why is giving back at the core of all of her projects? It may seems like she does it all, but it didn't happened...
  • Master of None S3 | A Conversation with Lena Waithe and Maxwell |...
    An intimate conversation with actress, writer, and executive producer Lena Waithe and singer-songwriter Maxwell about their artistry, the humanity...
  • ComNet18 Keynote: Lena Waithe in Conversation with NPR's Joshua...
    Lena Waithe writer/producer/actor, speaks with Joshua Johnson, host of NPR’s 1A. (Introduced by Gail Fuller of the San Francisco Foundation). In...

Speaker Lists Featuring Lena Waithe

FAQs on booking Lena Waithe

  • How to book Lena Waithe?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Lena Waithe for both live and virtual events for over 20 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Lena Waithe, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Lena Waithe or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Lena Waithe?

    Booking fees for Lena Waithe, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Lena Waithe, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Lena Waithe?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Lena Waithe for clients worldwide for more than 20 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Lena Waithe for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Lena Waithe or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Lena Waithe or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Lena Waithe is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Lena Waithe for your event is available upon request. Lena Waithe generally travels from Los Angeles, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Yara Shahidi, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Janet Mock, Karamo Brown and Angelica Ross. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Lena Waithe for an upcoming live or virtual event.

Lena Waithe Speaker Videos

  • Lena Waithe's Secret to Doing Everything: Not All At Once | Inc.
    How did Lena Waithe get started and why is giving back at the core of all of her projects? It may seems like she does it all, but it didn't happened overnight. The Emmy Award-winning writer, actor,...
    Master of None S3 | A Conversation with Lena Waithe and Maxwell | Netflix
    An intimate conversation with actress, writer, and executive producer Lena Waithe and singer-songwriter Maxwell about their artistry, the humanity and universality of their work, and seeing (or...
  • ComNet18 Keynote: Lena Waithe in Conversation with NPR's Joshua Johnson
    Lena Waithe writer/producer/actor, speaks with Joshua Johnson, host of NPR’s 1A. (Introduced by Gail Fuller of the San Francisco Foundation). In a wide-ranging conversation Waithe and Johnson...
    Lena Waithe: Uncensored And Uncut
  • Lena Waithe Keynote at the AFI Directing Workshop for Women 2018 Showcase
    Emmy-winning creator, writer, actor and powerhouse Lena Waithe delivers the keynote at the AFI Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) 2018 Showcase. Waithe concluded her keynote with a rousing call to...

Lena Waithe News

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Speakers Similar to Lena Waithe

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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The 2022 Speaking Industry Benchmark Report