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Lena Waithe's New Show Is BET's First to Center Queer Character

Twenties

The Lena Waithe production empire just won’t let up. Fresh off an expectation-defying weekend at the box office for her debut feature, Queen and Slim, Waithe’s trailer for her latest television project, Twenties, just dropped and it’s promising to bring some much needed Black queerness to BET. 

The eight-episode series follows Hattie, a queer Black woman, and her two friends Marie and Nia as they chase their dreams in Los Angeles during their 20s. Jonica “JoJo” T. Gibbs plays the lead opposite Christina Elmore and Gabrielle Graham in the show that’s loosely based on Waithe’s own start in the industry. When it premieres next year, it’ll make history for the network. While it’s had other LGBTQ+ characters part of main casts of shows — the Boomerang reimaging (also from Waithe) and the short-lived Brandy-fronted series, Zoe Ever After, come to mind — this is the first time a scripted series will center around a queer character.  

While Waithe has experienced much success over the last few years — including her history-making Emmy win for television comedy writing for her legendary “Thanksgiving” episode of Master of None — Twenties, in fact, was her very first screenwriting effort in Hollywood. It initially began as a web series concept and parts of the pilot presentation can still be seen on YouTube. The show then went from being developed at BET to TBS and now back to BET, more than 10 years after Waithe first conceived it. 

According to character descriptions, Hattie is an aspiring television writer who can’t keep a regular 9 to 5. She’s lesbian, but always falls for straight women. Her best friends Nia and Marie, who are straight, are a solid support system, but when she gets offered a writer’s PA job by Ida B., a successful Black television writer/producer played by Sophina Brown, she might finally be able to step out on her own. Rounding out the cast is rapper Big Sean who will play Tristan, a student in Nia’s yoga class. 

Guest stars for the series will include Jenifer Lewis, Rick Fox, Vanessa Williams, and Kym Whitley, among others. 

Twenties currently has a “early 2020” release date. Check out the trailer below:

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