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2019 BET Experience - Genius Talks Sponsored By Credit Karma - Day 2

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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.

See below.




3. A thread…