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Lena Waithe dishes on her revolutionary new series that taps into her life as a queer black woman


Leon Bennett/Getty Images for BETLena Waithe is making “revolutionary” moves with her latest project Twenties on BET.

Created by the Emmy Award-winning writer while in her early twenties, the series follows the life of a “queer black girl” named Hattie, played by newcomer Jonica JoJo T. Gibbs. Like a young Waithe, Hattie has aspirations of becoming a writer.

Waithe tells ABC Audio that she’s excited about the series, which is loosely based on her real life, because it offers a different take on the narratives we see today.

“It’s such a different tone, a different vibe,” Waithe says. “[And] it’s the first time on primetime on television, a queer black woman will be the protagonist of a TV show. So, just that alone is revolutionary.”

While most of the series will center on Hattie’s chaotic life, including the “crush on her beautiful boss” and her relationship with her two heterosexual best friends, Nia and Marie, Waithe says the series is also about how life was for a brown girl trying to make it in L.A.

“It’s black. It’s fun. It’s swaggy,” she says. 

However, as fun as it may have been, Waithe admits it still wasn’t easy back then.

“I do think that a person being in their 20s now in the business, if you’re black and you’re queer in your 20s, they want you. They like, ‘Come on, bring it. What you got?'” she says. “[But] when I…moved out to L.A. in 2006 it was a little different.”

Yet, even with those struggles, Waithe says she’s happy to tell her story and that she “really loves how it came together.”

“And the cool thing is…I love that Atlanta can exist, Insecure can exist, and Twenties can also exist as well,” she adds. 

Twenties airs Wednesday nights on BET.

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