Lena Waithe Named Ambassador of 2023 American Black Film Fest


Lena Waithe will serve as the ambassador of next year’s American Black Film Festival (ABFF). The 27th edition of the fest is set to take place June 14 to 18 in Miami Beach followed by a virtual event June 19-25 on ABFF PLA. A press release announced the news. 

As ambassador, the Emmy-winning writer, actor, and producer will raise awareness for the fest’s mission to elevate Black talent and amplify emergent voices in cinema. Former ambassadors include “Insecure” creator and star Issa Rae, Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, and “Empire” alumna Taraji P. Henson.

“I am excited to collaborate with the festival to shine a light on unique and groundbreaking stories and the creatives behind them,” said Waithe, who recently appeared in the in the fifth and final season of Pamela Adlon’s “Better Things.”

Festival producer and ABFF president Nicole Friday praised the multi-hyphenate for her advocacy for underrepresented storytellers in Hollywood. “Lena is a powerhouse in the film and television industry and a trailblazer for emerging creative artists,” she said in a statement. “Her commitment to elevate diverse voices personifies ABFF’s commitment to diversify Hollywood.”

Previously, Waithe was a recipient of the Industry Renaissance Award at the 2020 ABFF HONORS, an accolade celebrating “content creators whose exemplary work in film and television contributes to changing perceptions of people of color in the entertainment industry,” the release explains. 

Waithe made history at the 2017 Emmys when she became the first Black woman to win Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on “Master of None.” Her other small screen credits include “The Chi” and “Twenties,” both of which she created. She penned “Queen & Slim,” Melina Matsoukas’ feature directorial debut about a Black couple who go on the run after killing a white cop in self-defense.

The ABFF is an annual event championing excellence in film and TV content by and about folks of African descent, and is “dedicated to the belief that diverse artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts,” per the festival’s website.

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