There are many reasons to get excited about Lena Waithe. Perhaps you’ve heard of a little Showtime series she’s working on called The Chi, which chronicles life on the South Side of Chicago. Or maybe you’ve heard about the Emmy Award she earned in September alongside Aziz Ansari for Master of None, propelling her into the spotlight as the first Black woman to win for best writing in a comedy series.
But before we get carried away, what we’re really here to talk about is Out Magazine’s annual 100 list, which celebrates “the extraordinary contributions of the LGBTQ+ community to the cultural, social, and political life of America.” This year, Waithe is the magazine’s Artist of the Year, giving her yet another moment to celebrate.
Waithe sits comfortably on this year’s 100 list alongside the likes of stylemaker Shayne Oliver and Orange Is The New Black actress Samira Wiley. She also graces one of four special covers of the publication—looking like a milli, no less. In her cover story, the acclaimed actress and screenwriter tells readers more about her vision for the highly praised Master of None episode that lead to her unforgettable gold statue moment.
“I wanted to say something about our community, particularly the queer community—to share that with them because that’s what the story was really about: coming out,” she said. “It was bigger than me, bigger than one episode of television. To me, that was a moment to really see people in the community and tell them I see them and tell them the things that make us different are actually what make us special. If I wasn’t a queer black woman, I don’t know if I would have been standing on that stage. I hoped that they could see through me that when you tell your story, when you live your authentic life, only good things will come from it.”
Out will host a Lexus-presented event celebrating the honorees on November 9 in New York City. Until then, get into the full list here, and check out the Thanksgiving episode of Master of None if you haven’t already. The holiday’s right around the corner, after all.