Lena Waithe Criticizes Black Movie Stars For Not Financing Indies From Black Filmmakers

During the interview about Queen & Slim — which is slated for a November release — and the future of movies, Waithe said one of the biggest challenges young black filmmakers face is securing financing. She called on successful black stars to do more to help.
Lena Waithe is calling on African-American movie stars to do more to support up-and-coming black filmmakers.
Waithe, who created Showtime series The Chi and wrote the script for upcoming Universal drama Queen & Slim from director Melina Matsoukas, says A-listers like Denzel Washington and Will Smith should do more to support independent movies from young black storytellers.
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“You can make a very well-done independent black movie for three million bucks, and that’s a drop in the bucket for what some of these black stars make per movie,” Waithe told The New York Times writer Kyle Buchanan in a story published Friday.
“Whose production company put those out?,” Waithe asked Buchanan, who replied Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B.
Waithe praised Ava DuVernay for founding film collective Array. But she said to open more doors in Hollywood, African Americans must work together.
“I really do feel like there’s a way for us to change the movie business from the inside out, but we’re all in our own silos doing our own thing. We’re definitely in the middle of a renaissance, make no mistake. “I’m over here trying to build a community, and I don’t see other people doing it,” she continued. In 20 years, people are going to be writing about what you’re writing about. But for me, I want more.”” />
She brought up two Oscar-winning films during the interview — Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight and Steve McQueen’s 2013 drama 12 Years a Slave. Waithe described both films as being "very important to the black community."
I’m not [going to name] names because I know better, but there are some very big black movie stars out there, and they could pay for two or three or even five small independent movies to get made by black directors and black writers." "Don’t get me started on black financiers!" she said. "How many of those do we have?
Wasn’t Will Smith,” she stated. “You won’t catch me making $20 million a movie and not paying for at least four or five independent movies a year. “[It] wasn’t Denzel. I do give credit to Ava [DuVernay] for trying to build something that hasn’t been built before, but that’s a lot on Ava’s back.”

Amazon Gives 2-Season Order To Horror Event Series ‘Them’ From Lena Waithe, Little Marvin, Vertigo & Sony TV – TCA

“And at this point in time one of the best ways to examine fractures in our world through the visceral and raw lens of horror. “I’ve always felt that dark, surreal times deserve dark, surreal mirrors to show us ourselves,” said Little Marvin. I’m beyond thrilled that our series has found its home with the fine folks at Amazon.”” />
The project, from Vertigo Entertainment and Sony Pictures TV, has received a two-season straight-to-series order. In a competitive situation, Amazon Studios has landed horror event series Them, from executive producer Lena Waithe (The Chi, Dear White People), and writer and executive producer Little Marvin.
The first season of the anthology series is titled Them: Covenant.
“We are thrilled to be in business with the incredibly talented Lena Waithe, Little Marvin and Vertigo.” “My heart was still pounding an hour after I heard this pitch. The show is edge of your seat scary and addictive while also being provocative and socially relevant ,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios.
Waite is one of the busiest writer-producers at the moment, with multiple projects across film and TV. On the film side, her latest script, Queen & Slim, will go into production in January starring Daniel Kaluuya for Universal. Waithe also serves as executive producer and writer of the upcoming TBS series Twenties. Waithe won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, and a GLAAD Media Award, along with an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Netflix's Master of None episode “Thanksgiving” that she co-wrote. She also recently signed an overall deal with Showtime, the network behind The Chi. She created and executive produces The Chi. Her producing credits include the films Step Sisters and Dear White People, which later became a TV series in which she guest starred.
Written by Little Marvin, the 1953-set Them: Covenant centers around Alfred and Lucky Emory, who decide to move their family from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood. The family’s home on a tree lined, seemingly idyllic street becomes ground zero where malevolent forces both real and supernatural threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them.
This anthology series will examine the cultural divides among all of us and explore us vs Them in a way we’ve never seen before.” It will also remind us that being black in 2018 is just as horrifying. “He’s written something that’s provocative and terrifying. The first season will speak to how frightening it was to be black in 1953. "Little Marvin's script stayed with me for weeks after I read it,” said Waithe.
Little Marvin executive produces with Waithe, along with Roy Lee, Miri Yoon, and Michael Connolly of Vertigo Entertainment. Sony Pictures TV, which has a deal with Vertigo, is the studio.