Writer Lena Waithe (pictured below) made waves in the film world as the producer of the independent film “Dear White People” alongside director Justin Simien. Waithe also enjoyed measurable success as the writer of the viral comedy YouTube clip “Sh-t Black Girls Say.” Now, Waithe has partnered up with Queen Latifah‘s Flavor Unit production company for her new series, “Twenties” — but it appears networks are passing on the show because they feel it doesn’t have an audience.
Waithe spoke last week with IndieWire’s Shadow and Act, a blog focused on African-American cinema. Flavor Unit Executive Producer Shelby Stone praised “Twenties” and Waithe explained in the chat how the partnership came about.
Shadow and Act: How did Flavor Unit get involved?
LW: My agent sent the script to a few production companies that we thought might respond to the story and the characters. And I was lucky, because a lot of production companies were interested, but Flavor Unit made me feel like they would be in it for the long haul.
And as a young up-and-coming writer, that’s what I wanted. I knew selling a single camera comedy about three black women in their twenties wasn’t going to be easy, but Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, and Shelby Stone made me feel like it wasn’t impossible.
Shadow and Act: What is a pilot presentation? Why did you opt for this route?
LW: A lot of networks read the script and loved it, but they either thought there wasn’t an audience for it or that it already existed. Of course I became extremely frustrated because I knew neither of those things were true. So I realized I had to show these network executives that “Twenties” was one of a kind and that there was nothing on TV like it.