The cast of Lena Waithe’s TBS comedy Twenties is shaping up. Deadline has reported that Jonica T. Gibbs has been cast as the lead character Hattie, a queer black girl who traverses life with her two straight best friends Marie and Nia as well as a prominent black television producer/writer Ida B, the woman who gives Hattie her big break. Christina Elmore and Gabrielle Graham have been cast as Marie and Nia, and Sophina Brown will play Ida B. Twenties is described as one “about friendship, finding love, and messing everything up along the way.”
As a character, Hattie has some similarities with Waithe herself. According to Deadline, the character is “a naturally beautiful, funny, charming young woman” who also is “an aspiring television writer who dreams of glory.” That’s probably where the similarities end with the character, because Hattie has some issues she must sort out. According to the outlet, Hattie has trouble keeping a regular job and always falls for straight women, causing further trouble in her life, but her best friends are always there to help her out. Hattie finally gets her break into the industry when she interviews Ida B., who offers Hattie a PA job despite calling her out for some old disparaging tweets.
This project has been a long time coming for Waithe, who wrote the show nine years ago.
“I wrote Twenties back in 2009,” she said in February when TBS picked up the pilot. “I always wanted to tell a story where a queer black woman was the protagonist, and I’m so grateful to TBS for giving me a platform to tell this story. Queer black characters have been the sidekick for long enough; it’s time for us to finally take the lead.”
Waithe and her manager Andrew Coles will executive produce through Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions and Coles’ Mission Entertainment.
Waithe’s slate is filling up; not only does she executive produce and write for her Showtime drama The Chi, but she and Halle Berry have also signed on to executive produce BET’s Boomerang sequel series. Waithe has also acquired the TV and film rights to Kiley Reid’s debut novel, Such a Fun Age, which will be published next fall.