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Lena Waithe: “We Still Have Yet to Have a Black Man Run a Major Studio. That Tells You A Lot . . .”


In an interview with the ​​New York Times​​ published Friday, writer and filmmaker Lena Waithe ​gave a candid view film industry​s​ recent embrace of more directors and performers of color.

Speaking with reporter Kyle Buchanan, The Chi creator pointed toward the Oscar and box office success of films like Barry Jenkinss Moonlight and Jordan Peeles Get Out opening doors for films primarily driven by black voices, including her own upcoming Queen & Slim. Still, Waithe said, films “very important to the black community” like Moonlight or 12 Years a Slave were put out by production company Plan B, co-founded by actor Brad Pitt, whose leadership is largely white​. The problem, Waithe added, is that “we still have yet to have a black man run a major studio. That tells you a lot about where were at as an industry, were still trying to play catch-up.”

Moreover, Waithe said that black financiers and established stars could do more to support the next generation of filmmakers. Pitts involvement in Plan B struck a particular chord. “Wasnt Denzel. Wasnt Will Smith,” Waithe noted. “You wont catch me making $20 million a movie and not paying for at least four or five independent movies a year.”

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