With major series in the works, and indie hit Dear White People under her belt, writer Lena Waithe has emerged as a powerful voice for black millennials.
Earlier this year, news broke that Waithe would be co-starring alongside Aziz Ansari in the comedian’s forthcoming Netflix series “Master of None.” At the time, few details were released about the project, other than that it would be based on Ansari’s life.
“Master of None” premiered this weekend to critical acclaim and rave reviews on social media.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the series in terms of Waithe’s character, but a weekend binge watch session proved her to a be a major standout in the series.
Waithe plays Denise, a longtime friend to Aziz Ansari’s Dev, but she’s definitely more than a sidekick who trades in gif-able moments. At times Denise provides much needed comic relief, at other times she’s a much needed voice of reason. She’s also a lesbian who is open about her sexuality and sexual conquests in way rarely seen for LGBTQ characters of color in ensemble casts. In the past, characters like Denise have existed purely for titillation, salaciousness, or as a plot device. Instead, when Denise appears on screen, we are left wanting more. We want to know where she came from, what she’s thinking, and where she’s going to go next.
Earlier this month, Waithe revealed that, like Ansari, Denise is largely based on her real life.
“Originally, I think the character of Denise was supposed to be this white, straight girl, and here I am — an African-American lesbian woman,” said Waithe.
“I feel like I was playing a heightened version of myself, which was sort of fun and cool.”
After the tenth episode of “Master of None” ended with a curious cliffhanger, fans are hoping for a second season to find out Dev’s fate. Like many, I can’t wait to hear Denise’s take on the whole situation, and I wonder if she might have also made some major life decisions, as well.