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Lena Waithe Says ‘The Chi’s’ Award Nominations Will Help Her Change the Industry

Lena Waithe, creator of Showtime’s “The Chi,” seeks award nominations in order to bolster her profile, in turn allowing her to help lift others in the industry.

“I want to leave my fingerprint on the industry. It’s not how many movies or TV shows I can make, but how many careers I can begin,” said Waithe at “The Chi’s” season 2 premiere panel discussion.

“It’s a privilege to be able to follow your dream,” she said. “Not everyone in this world is walking in their purpose because I don’t know if they can afford to.”

The series was nominated for a Peabody award. The show is eligible for Emmy nominations, which will be announced July 16.

In 2017, Waithe made history as the first black woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on “Master of None.”

“I think that obviously I can speak from experience and that I know what Emmy’s can do for the spotlight of the particular show, for the way I think the world looks at a show,” Waithe told Variety on the red carpet. “To be nominated for a Peabody means a great deal. I hope that an Emmy isn’t far behind.”

She said, “[Being nominated] shines a big light on me that I can then push over and shine on someone else to who the industry doesn’t know about yet. That to me is what’s so exciting about my success. It’s because I know how this industry in this town. How this machine works. We are a business of heat seekers, so if people think I’m hot, they want to come stand next to me.”

The show’s lead actor Jason Mitchell told Variety, “If anyone deserves an award it’s definitely Lena [Waithe]. She is a beautiful artist with a beautiful idea and lived a beautiful life. We’re kind of getting to put that on wax being able to tell this story, but being able to do that is an award enough for me.”

Mitchell quipped that if he wins an Emmy for his work on the show he wants Waithe to write his speech.

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