“It’s a beautiful time, you know,” Waithe told Variety at the event’s green carpet, speaking to press for the third time in just over a week, after the events celebrating her role on HBO’s “Westworld” and her new BET series “Twenties,” which debuted on the network March 4 with nearly two million viewers tuning in.
Speaking of “Twenties’” impressive bow, Waithe said, “To me, what the 2 million viewers meant was that society really showed us that they’re ready. They’re ready to step into this new chapter where intersectionality is not, you know, abnormal, but it is the norm. And I really felt that love and that support.”
And with “Boomerang,” Waithe and her team are spreading the love in a different way, making headlines when it was announced that all eight episodes of season two were helmed by black women — Tiffany Johnson, Katrelle N. Kindred and Dime Davis, who also serves as showrunner on the series with Angeli Milan.
“I never even thought it was something I had to focus so much on. I thought that that would be the norm, but it really isn’t,” Waithe told Variety. “People really do have to fight to get into unions. They have to fight to be seen as the fight to have a seat at the table and now we own the table. … We own the house, you know what I’m saying?”
“I want to continue to really introduce people to this industry who ordinarily wouldn’t have access to it. We’re introducing them to the industry but also teaching them the craft so they can stay in the industry and really make changes. That’s my legacy,” she continued. “I really am in a space of building. And so there’s a lot of work happening right now, but I don’t mind. My hope is that I can build something for all of us because to me, what we’re doing at Hillman Grad [her production company] isn’t about me, it’s about the people.”
Though Waithe has a lot of respect for her directors, she has no desire to be one herself. “That’s a very difficult job,” she explained. “It requires a lot of vision. A certain gene that I don’t have.”
Also on Waithe’s mind was paying tribute to the original “Boomerang” film and its stars, including Halle Berry — who executive produces the show alongside her — and Martin Lawrence who joined the show’s crew for the celebration.
“You talk about Martin, it’s like half of us got our personalities from you. Like we mimic you … And um, I just want to give you your flowers while you’re here,” Waithe said onstage before a full house, as Lawrence stood to be recognized by audience. “I’m thankful to you brother. So thank you so much for making us laugh and for being a part of this movie, this legacy, and the thing about boomerang the show is we want to continue the legacy. … All those people in that film [listing Lawrence, Murphy, Berry, Robin Givens and more], If that’s not Black Excellence, I don’t know what is.”
Speaking of black excellence, “Twenties” star Jonica Jojo T. Gibbs, “Dear White People” creator Justin Simien, Lance Gross and Terrence J were among the friends who showed up to celebrate with Waithe and the show’s stars Brittany Inge, Tetona Jackson, Tequan Richmond, Lala Milan, Leland B. Martin and RJ Walker. Terrence even hopped onstage with DJ Brian Henry to salute her at the after party, which took over a full sound stage on the Paramount Lot.