Ava DuVernay’s heartfelt tweet about Lena Waithe is a reminder to fight for your dreams.

You know incredibly dope, superfly Lena Waithe, right?    

GIF via Paley Center for Media/Tumblr.

The goofy, brilliant, loveable, queer black woman everyone just can’t get enough of?  


Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images.

Well, the brilliant actress and screenwriter recently made history in a really awesome way.  

She’s just become Vanity Fair’s first openly black, lesbian cover star.

Vanity Fair, one of the world’s most famous high-end magazines, made the excellent decision to feature Waithe on the cover of its April issue.

Naturally, the internet went wild.

LEEEEENNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAA 💯

A post shared by Elaine Welteroth (@elainewelteroth) on

The incredible cover has been lauded by actors, musicians, journalists, and screenwriters alike.

Many are praising new editor-in-chief, Radhika Jones, for using her first Vanity Fair magazine issue to amplify a queer black woman’s story and change the game.

Photographed by the always-iconic Annie Leibovitz, Waithe’s cover is a welcome change to the homogenous, somewhat stuffy narrative that Vanity Fair’s been criticized for in the past.

But Jones is making a very clear statement with this cover: The world of film and art is changing, and readers should take note.        

The shoot’s candid photos of everyday life deviate from Vanity Fair’s norm of solely showcasing high-fashion imagery. Considering the magazine’s historical focus on white, heterosexual, cisgender people (for instance, their all-white female cover in 2017), it’s encouraging that Jones is making good on her promise to take the sometimes-exclusionary publication to the next level.

She’s doing so by engaging with the current cultural moment to diversify the ways in which we tell stories — and whose stories get told in the first place.

The honor is certainly well-deserved. Waithe has worked in the industry for more than a decade and recently became the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing for her incredible “Master of None” episode, “Thanksgiving.”  

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW.

But considering the fact that she’s now voicing commercials, producing and writing the beloved television show “The Chi,” and working with Steven Spielberg on a new movie, the actress/screenwriter/producer seems to be just getting started.

Unapologetically black and lesbian, Waithe remains true to herself while also working to lift marginalized voices on her journey to success.    

GIF from The Emmys.

While it’s certainly impressive, there’s one star who really wasn’t surprised by Waithe skyrocketing to the top.

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay saw Waithe’s talent nearly 10 years ago on the set of one of DuVernay’s first films.    

Yes, Ms. DuVernay, you did tell us so.

Her tweets are a delightful reminder for anyone who’s working longer hours, having a few sleepless nights, and hustling to mark their mark in the world.

Hard work pays off.

Entering a new industry, taking a chance on a dream, or working towards a degree often takes extra time and energy, but DuVernay reminds us that doing your absolute best (even when it feels like you're at the bottom) pays off.  

DuVernay isn’t the first to applaud Waithe for her work ethic, either. Waithe had a long working relationship with “Love & Basketball” director Gina Prince-Bythewood and often discussed the long — usually hilarious — days that gave Waithe some of her most invaluable experience.

“There is nothing I cannot do," she once said. "With a little bit of help, little bit of resources, and little bit of swag, I’m gon' get there."  

Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Essence.

In a world that’s constantly challenging everyone to think bigger, work harder, and achieve more, Waithe’s words ring truer than ever. Fighting for your dreams is hard work that often requires long hours, sleepless nights, and sacrifices.

But DuVernay’s words are incredibly motivating for anyone trying to make it.  

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images.

When you respect others, remain true to yourself, and work hard to listen and learn each day, nothing is impossible.

Lena Waithe taught us that.

True

2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less