Lena Waithe has to do some fact checking. The notable screenwriter and actress said certain stars, like Denzel Washington and Will Smith, need to finance more independent films by people of color.
The problem is, those actors she name-checked actually have been doing so, for years.
“You can make a very well-done independent black movie for three million bucks, and that’s a drop in the bucket for what some of these black stars make per movie,” said Waithe in an interview with the New York Times published on Friday (June 21).
She added, “Don’t get me started on black financiers! 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.”
Then 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?”
When the NY Times writer responded, “Brad Pitt’s company, Plan B,” that’s when Waithe hurled Denzel and Will under the bus.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Considering she was already on shaky ground due to questions of how much she knew of Jason Mitchell’s alleged shenanigans on the set of The Chi, Twitter was quick to g-check Waithe.
Lena Waithe Criticizes Black Stars For Not Financing Indie Films, Gets Checked On Twitter was originally published on hiphopwired.com
Denzel Washington isn't even one of those "his mere existence alone is enough" type of celebrities. He has a STORIED career of putting not only his money, but his time and influence, where his heart is. This is not only dead wrong, but disrespectful. Smh. https://t.co/N0uKLVQOHP— openly a regina king stan acct (@kandacesays) June 22, 2019
...Denzel has built a body of work (including producing) that will live on for years and years. He’s done the work and is STILL helping to mentor and develop young Black talent. That is his legacy and you can’t fuck with it.— Rebecca Theodore-Vachon (@FilmFatale_NYC) June 22, 2019
quick question has lena waithe fired that dude from the chi yet? https://t.co/CLsjxIN2KT— aisha 🌹 (@blackpowerpufff) June 22, 2019
Lena Waithe: Apologize for allowing it to continue and make changes to prevent it from happening again— Blerds Online (@BlerdsOnline) June 22, 2019
Also Lena Waithe: Blame Will Smith and Denzel Washington pic.twitter.com/EFTbTGhzuu
When you're Lena Waithe's publicist and you find out why your phone is blowing up on a Friday night... pic.twitter.com/mvBZya1gWt— hellresidentNY (@hellresidentNY) June 22, 2019
This is taken out of context.— Jayce Baron (@JayceBaron) June 22, 2019
I read the article and @LenaWaithe is essentially saying she’s rather see black producers profit over groundbreaking BLACK films like “12 Years of Slave”... who has a white producer.
More of a “like Denzel & Will” reference, not a direct attack. https://t.co/ceaCNz8c8Y
Seen a few IG stories of @LenaWaithe talking about arranging room and board for up and coming talent who need help getting to and staying in and LA.— Danyi is a Demon 😈 (@SinEater_Danyi) June 23, 2019
An idea like that has been brewing in my mind for a while now, maybe one day we’ll create a program together 💪🏾