Lena Waithe got emotional when she and Aziz Ansari took the stage to accept their Emmy for writing the “Thanksgiving” episode of Master of None. The episode, which dealt with Waithe’s character Denise coming out to her family, was based on Waithe’s own real-life experience.
The episode centers on three generations of women who meet every year to celebrate Thanksgiving. Though the seats they occupy at the dinner table don’t change over the years, the women all do. Her grandmother and mother adjust as Denise comes out and later brings a girlfriend to the holiday meal.
Here’s her full speech:
“Wow, wow, wow. Got to thank God. Got to thank God. Oh my gosh. Jesus, let me reclaim my time. Give me a second. I’ve got to thank God or else I wouldn’t be standing here. I want to thank my mother for inspiring the story and allowing me to share it with the world. I love you mom. Thank you Aziz for pushing me to co-write this, bro. Now, we’re standing here. I love you forever.
“Thank you and Alan for creating a show like Master of None, where we can tell stories like this. Thank you Netflix and Universal for creating a beautiful playground for us to play on and shine. Ted and Cindy, we love you. Melina, you are magic. Angela, you are a legend. Kim, you are a force. Thank you for making this episode so special.”
(Melina Matsoukas, who also helmed the “Formation” music video for Beyoncé and many episodes of Insecure, directed the episode. Angela Bassett and Kym Whitleyguest starred as Denise’s mother and family friend, respectively.)
“I love you all and last but certainly not least my LGBTQIA family,” she went on. (LGBTQIA stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual.) “I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different, those are our superpowers — every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it.
“And for everybody out there that showed so much love for this episode, thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a little queer black girl from the South Side of Chicago,” she said. “We appreciate it more than you could ever know.”