Hi8 is a new series of short interviews that serve as a quick hello to film figures we’re following. Inspired by the Walker’s 8-Ball Q&As, the series launches with a look at writers, producers, directors, and actors nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award. In a self-navigated format, each artist picks questions from a list, answering those eight that best expose their current musings and fascinations. No two interviews are the same.
Dear White People seamlessly blends cultural critique and humor in its examination of racial politics in higher education. The film has a special relationship with Minnesota: it was shot on the University of Minnesota campus, screened to a sold out audience at the Walker in May of 2014 as part of the Next Look series, and was presented as a case study at IFP Minnesota’s 15th Annual Midwest Filmmaker’s Conference. Dear White People received two Film Independent Spirit Award nominations for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay. Director Justin Simien and producers Lena Waithe, Angel Lopez, and Ann Le raised over $41,000 through Indiegogo, a crowd funding site. Producer Effie Brown later joined the mix after the promotional video went viral. Lena Waithe took a few moments to talk about self-care, what she’s listening to, and her favorite pair of pants. Waithe first gained internet fame for writing the YouTube series “Shit Black Girls Say.” She is currently writing a pilot for a show called Twenties, about a handful of twenty-somethings trying to navigate their post-college years, that will air on BET, and developing another show called Bros Before Hos—a comedy about three black brothers—for HBO.
1. What’s your favorite place to people-watch?
Gay clubs and holiday office parties.
2. How do you recharge creatively?
Walking around my neighborhood listening to whatever my favorite song is at the time.
3. What is your favorite article of clothing?
A pair of corduroy harem pants I found at a thrift store. They’re way too big for me so I often wear them with suspenders.
4. What is your favorite film scene?
It’s a scene from Eve’s Bayou. It’s when Eve’s aunt relives a memory when her lover shoots her husband in front of her. It’s shot beautifully and it’s done in such a sad yet eloquent way.
5. What have you been listening to lately?
6. What is your favorite inanimate object?
My remote control.
7. What has been your favorite age so far? Why?
The one I am now (30) because I’ve learned the true meaning of self-care. It’s not a concept one can fully comprehend in your twenties. You’re still too eager to please everyone.
8. What recent album, film, or book did you consume recently that you wish you had created?
The Comeback—because it’s so smart and dark and a reflection of us as a society.
The Film Independent Spirit Award nominees screen annually at the Walker Art Center as part of a collaboration with IFP. Screenings are free for all IFP and Walker members. Click here for the complete list of screenings.