Lena Waithe Honored With Trailblazer Award at 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards

Lena Waithe at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards in Santa Monica, California, on June 16.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for MTV

Lena Waithe is getting some special recognition for her role as a groundbreaking creator in show business.

The acclaimed actress, screenwriter and producer was honored with the Trailblazer Award at this year's MTV Movie & TV Awards, which aired on Monday, and Waithe used the opportunity to share the honor with trailblazers of the past.

Before taking the awards show stage the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, Waite was introduced by her close friend and fellow multitalented star, Common, who lauded her for her inspirational Hollywood journey.

"She dreamed big, worked hard and became the first black woman to win an Emmy for writing a comedy series for Master of None," Common shared before touting Waite's efforts as a mentor to hundreds of young writers and praising her as "amazing, always inspiring, revolutionary and incomparable."

Upon stepping out on stage, Waite was met with resounding applause and a standing ovation from the entire audience.

Waithe -- who is also the creator and executive producer of The Chi, and a vocal LGBTQ activist and advocate -- said that she'd looked up the definition of the word "trailblazer" when she learned she'd been selected for the honor, and said she feels "extremely grateful" for the "amazing honor," and to have people view her "in that light."

Waithe, for her part, was inspired by a whole other group of trailblazers, which she discovered in the acclaimed 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, which chronicled the black, Latino, gay and transgender communities involved in the influential underground drag culture in 1980s New York City.

"Watch it and find out where you got your culture from," Waithe shared, dedicating her Trailblazer award with the people featured in the celebrated documentary.

"A lot of people featured in this film are no longer with us, but their legacy will never die, because they live on in all of us," Waithe said. "We owe them a huge debt of gratitude."

Before the show, Waithe walked the red carpet with her fiancée, Alana Mayo, and the pair were all smiles as they posed for photos outside the venue.

Lena Waithe Alana Mayo at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards on June 16.
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Waithe and Mayo, who got engaged last Thanksgiving, have been together for three years. Mayo has been by her side through her meteoric rise to fame, and was thanked in Waithe's historic Emmy acceptance speech last September -- nearly three months before their engagement.

For more on Waithe's trailblazing Emmy win, check out the video below.


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