The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Honors announced today that Emmy Award-winning producer, writer, and actor Lena Waithe will receive the Industry Renaissance Award. The award recognizes content creators whose exemplary work in film and television contributes to changing perceptions of people of color in the entertainment industry.
A triple-threat in the entertainment industry, Lena Waithe expertly taps into emerging cultural sensibilities with a sharp wit, speaking to a myriad of experiences from her unique perspective and challenging audiences to think outside of conventional norms. She has become a champion for underserved voices in the industry, creating writing and development opportunities for people of color as well as promoting diversity and representation on the screen through her production company, Hillman Grad.
Currently, Waithe serves as a writer and executive producer of two BET shows: the new series Twenties which is based off her own early years in LA and the second season of the Boomerang revival, which she created alongside Halle Berry. Both shows are set to air early this year. She has also received critical acclaim for creating Showtime’s The Chi, which will debut its third season this year.
Waithe first made headlines in front of the camera as Denise in the critically acclaimed Netflix series Master of None. In a role that was originally intended for a straight, white female, Waithe has made Denise’s experience as a queer black woman uniquely her own and became the first woman of color to win an Emmy award in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Waithe’s feature screenwriting debut, Queen & Slim, is also nominated for ABFF Honors’ Movie of the Year Award.
ABFF Honors is an annual awards gala dedicated to saluting excellence in the motion picture and television industry. The ceremony celebrates Black culture by recognizing artists who have made distinguished contributions to American entertainment through their work, as well as those who champion diversity and inclusion. Individual recognition awards include Hollywood Legacy, Excellence in the Arts, Rising Star, Industry Renaissance and Pro Hollywood. Recognition of outstanding content awards include Movie of the Year and Classic Television Award. Previous honorees and presenters include Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Regina King, Will Packer, Ryan Coogler, Ava DuVernay, Tiffany Haddish, Issa Rae, Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson, and Octavia Spencer.