100 Women We Love: Class Of 2018

Each one of these women, in her own unique way, is a role model who exemplifies the best of the LGBTQ community.

Lena Waithe

Photo by Instagram

Actor and screenwriter Lena Waithe made history last year as the first Black woman to win an Emmy for writing in a comedy series. That she won it for an episode of Master of None that centered on her character Denise’s coming out to her family was icing on the cake. Her co-writer, Aziz Ansari, deferred to Waithe to accept the award for the renowned “Thanksgiving” episode, which Waithe said was inspired by her own coming out to her mother. Waithe singled out her LGBTQ family in her speech. “I see each and every one of you,” she said. “The things that make us different — those are our superpowers. Every day when you walk out the door, put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world because the world would not be as beautiful as it is without us in it.” Waithe’s star just keeps on rising. In a win for Black queer visibility, she was featured on the March 2018 cover of Vanity Fair, in a striking portrait by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz. In her VF interview, Waithe discusses how the Emmy win has changed things for her — and how she’s using her new power in Hollywood to pay it forward. “How has the Emmy changed me? It got me all these meetings that I go in and say I’m too busy to work with you — you should have hollered at me. You can take my call when I call you about this Black queer writer over here who’s got a dope pilot, or this person over here who’s got really cool ideas, or this actress who’s really amazing but nobody’s seen her.” —SEJ