"The things that make us different, those are our superpowers."
Lena Waithe, who writes and acts on Netflix's Master of None, gave an impassioned acceptance speech when she won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series during Sunday's show, sharing the honor with Aziz Ansari for the acclaimed season two episode, "Thanksgiving." Waithe is the first African-American woman to ever win in the category. (She is also the first to ever be nominated.)
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"Wow, wow, wow," Waithe began to uproarious applause. "I gotta 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...I love you forever."
She went on to thank Master of None co-creator Alan Yang (who won the award with Ansari last year), Netflix, director Melina Matsoukas, co-star Angela Bassett ("You are a legend") and her girlfriend, Alana Mayo: "I love you more than life itself."
"Last but certainly not least, my LGBTQIA family. I see each and every one of you," Waithe concluded. "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 us so much love with this episode, thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a queer, black girl from the South Side of Chicago. We appreciate it more than you could ever know.”
Insecure's Issa Rae, Tessa Thompson and Ava DuVernay were just a few of her peers who took to Twitter to celebrate Waithe's win, with DuVernay tweeting, "For anyone w/ a dream, know how hard the great @LenaWaithe worked for hers. Congrats on your win, Lena. History has its eyes on you!"
Earlier in the day, Waithe posted a sweet Instagram, writing, "This little girl always dreamed of going to the Emmys one day. And today her dream comes true. This is how I feel no matter what happens tonight. #LoveYall"
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On the red carpet ahead of the show, Waithe told ET's Lauren Zima that the history-making nomination alone felt "phenomenal." "No matter what happens, it's a win," she said. "Aziz might faint. He called me this morning just to wish me well. He's going to make me talk if we win. He's like, 'Don't forget to thank Netflix.'"
"Thanksgiving" tracks Waithe's character Denise over the years as she builds up the courage to eventually come out to her mother, played by the "legendary" Basset, a story based on Waithe's own life.
"Look, coming out the first time was hard, but coming out to her was phenomenal," she laughed. "I'd come out to her any day of the week."
She also sweetly gushed over Mayo, who loosely inspired the character of Michelle in the episode. "I'm going to give her a shout out if I get up there. She's the prettiest girl at the ball," Waithe promised. "She reminds me to breathe, to chill. She's not a trophy girl, but she's a prize."