After Lena Waithe‘s historic Emmy win and equally incredible acceptance speech, it’s safe to say that her presence is inspiring Black and Brown folks, young and old, to smile and say, “That’s me.”
As part of Netflix’s #FirstTimeISawMe series, Waithe shared her relationship with representation and film, and her picks are ones so many of us can relate to.
Waithe explained that she first saw herself in the character of Eve in Eve’s Bayou. “She was a fierce kid. She was outspoken and definitely had a mind of her own,” she shared. Her second choice, was the beloved tomboy Monica of Love & Basketball, played by Sanaa Lathan. “As a kid, it was really validating to see these images on the big screen…. I felt as if I was up there…that these people were watching me, or celebrating me,” she said. Truth.
For the first time in ages, the slate of Emmy Award winners reflected viewers of color in a tangible way. With Riz Ahmed, we celebrated the first Asian man to win an Emmy for acting, thanks to his chilling star turn in HBO’s The Night Of. And thanks to Sterling K. Brown’s Best Actor win for his role as Randall in This Is Us, we got to see a Black man represented on television as a kindhearted perfectionist battling anxiety.
There are so many permutations of what it means to be an American, and so many layers. Thanks to Netflix, writers like Waithe, and Master of None show creator (and fellow Emmy winner) Aziz Ansari, the small screen is finally getting it right.
Check out Lena’s thoughts below.