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Lena Waithe Gave A Beautiful Speech After Becoming The First Black Woman To Win A Comedy-Writing Emmy

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 18, 2017 4:20PM

Actor/writers Aziz Ansari (left) and Lena Waithe accept Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for 'Master of None' / Getty Images / Photo: Kevin Winter

If the valleys at last night's Emmy Awards proved squirmingly canyon-esque (hello, Spicey), its peak was just as inversely wonderful. No black woman had ever even won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series before Chicago native Lena Waithe took home the honors last night, for co-writing Master of None's coming-out episode, “Thanksgiving," which is based on Waithe's own personal experiences. (Co-writer and series co-creator Aziz Ansari also shared in the win.) And she used the platform to deliver a stirring, heartfelt tribute to her "L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. family."

"I see each and every one of you," she said. "The things that make us different, those are our super powers. Every day, when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world — because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it."

She added: "And for everybody out there that showed so much love for this episode, thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a little queer black girl from the South Side of Chicago. We appreciate it more than you could ever know. Thank you, Academy, for this. We love you all. God bless you all."

“I hope it will open up people’s eyes to give women of color a seat at the table, so that they can tell their stories; and if you do that, then you’ll get one of these,” she said later at the awards, according to CBS Chicago.

She posted a photo on Instagram of herself kissing her well-deserved hardware: "Grateful."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel offered a congratulations on Monday. "Congratulations to native Chicagoan and Columbia College graduate Lena Waithe for being awarded an Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy series," he said in a statement. "Lena is a talented and creative writer and actress with a gift for storytelling, a unique vision and strong voice. Chicago is proud of Lena's accomplishments and looks forward to watching her future success."

Waithe's wasn't the only Chicago-affiliated win of the night either. Ann Dowd, a veteran of the Chicago theatre scene, won the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her chilling portrayal of Aunt Lydia, on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Congrats to both.