Lena Waithe shades Will Smith for not funding black-led movies

Lena Waithe shades Will Smith for not funding black-led movies


Lena Waithe isn’t too proud to put Will Smith and Denzel Washington in their place, criticising the Hollywood stars for not funding black-led movies.

The Master Of None actress feels disheartened by the lack of black ownership within the movie industry and suggests that Brad Pitt’s successful production company, Plan B, is contributing more to the cause with films like 12 Years A Slave and Moonlight giving black talent a platform.

While she commends Brad for giving afro-centric movies the greenlight, Lena feels Will and Denzel – who own production companies – could be doing more for their community.

Sharing her frustrations with the New York Times, Lena explained: ‘I think black people in this industry are making art that is so specific and unique and good that the studio heads have no choice but to throw money at us.

‘They’re saying, “How can we support you and stand next to you?” The tricky part is that they want to be allies and they want to be inclusive, but they also want to make money.’

Lena, 35, went on to claim that there are ‘some very big black movie stars’ who could afford to pay for at least five independent films to get made with black directors and writers at the helm.

Heaping praise on Brad, 55, the screenwriter continued: ‘Let me give you two movies that are very important to the black community: Moonlight and 12 Years a Slave. Whose production company put those out?

‘Wasn’t Denzel. Wasn’t Will Smith. You won’t catch me making $20 million a movie and not paying for at least four or five independent movies a year.

‘I do give credit to Ava [DuVernay] for trying to build something that hasn’t been built before, but that’s a lot on Ava’s back.’

Lena stated that she’s trying to ‘build a community’ but feels many other actors and actresses are too involved with their own journeys to help other black talent.

Will, 50, is known to be very passionate about black representation in Hollywood and famously boycotted the Oscars in 2016 over the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.

However in 2017, Denzel, 64, refused to blame the issue of colourism on why some black actors may find it difficult to achieve a level of success in Hollywood.

The screen icon, who became the second black man to win the best actor Oscar in 2001, told BET: ‘You have to continue to get better…

‘You can say, “Oh I didn’t get the part because they gave it to the light-skinned girl, or you can work, and one day, it might take twenty years, and you can be Viola [Davis]… The easiest thing to do is to blame someone else, the system.’

Lena rose to prominence two years ago for co-writing and starring in Netflix series Master Of None, and won the Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding writing for a comedy series for her work on the show.

Moonlight, the movie which Brad’s production company released in 2017, won the best picture, best supporting actor and best adapted screenplay at the Academy Awards.

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