Lena Waithe Calls Out Will Smith And Denzel Washington For Not Funding More Films With Black Talent

Written by Ann Brown
Lena Waithe
Lena Waithe Original photo: Photo Credit: Sean Jamar

Actress Lena Waithe isn’t too impressed with Black Hollywood heavyweights. The “Master Of None” actress recently called out Will Smith and Denzel Washington for not doing more to finance films with Black talent. On the other hand, she praised Brad Pitt.

According to Waithe, the creator of the Showtime drama series “The Chi” and the screenwriter behind Universal’s fall drama “Queen & Slim,” one of the major challenges for Black filmmakers and creators is to get financing.

“Don’t get me started on Black financiers!” Waithe told The New York Times. “How many of those do we have? I’m not [going to name] names because I know better, but there are some very big Black movie stars out there, and they could pay for two or three or even five small independent movies to get made by Black directors and Black writers…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.”

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Waithe’s “Queen & Slim,” starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, will be released on November 27 by Universal Pictures. “The dramatic thriller marks the feature directorial debut of Melina Matsoukas, best known as the Grammy Award-winning music video director behind Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’ and Beyonce’s ‘Formation,’” the Indie Wire reported.

Waithe, however, applauded Brad for green lighting Afro-centric movies the greenlight. She said: “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.”

Waithe has gotten some blowback from the criticism of Smith and Washington. 

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