I feel like I've accomplished a lot, but for me, it's about pushing to the point where I can be Mark Walhberg, Ryan Murphy, or Shonda Rhimes. I want to be at that table in terms of bringing new voices in.
I never thought I would write about Chicago, and I definitely never thought I would write a drama.
Wearing one hoop earring and playing with the androgyny - that's who I am. That's what I like to do. And I feel the world should see that. I'm not going to put a shield up or be more feminine to make people feel comfortable.
There's a lot of Donald Glovers, Jordan Peeles, Justin Simiens. And there's a lot of me's, too.
There's something specific about Chicagoans, and I just felt like I'd love to tell their story in a creative way. Not in a way to go, 'Oh, Chicago's perfect.' I don't believe that. I don't think that. I know we have our issues.
I'm a black woman, so I'm obviously not going to write something where women aren't at the forefront.
I've never been a person that has had fear of, like, 'Oh, I don't want to be the poster child for all black lesbian women.' I don't know. I want to be someone in the public eye that they can be proud of.
The cool thing about dope black style becoming in style is that the industry has no choice but to try and reduplicate that.
I was running around all the time, talking out of turn, a lot of energy, and obsessed with movies. There's nothing I loved more than going to the movies.
For me, it's about making art that's not good but phenomenal. James Baldwin didn't want to just stay above the fray. Prince didn't think, 'I wonder what the industry is gonna think about 'Purple Rain.'' It's just, is this honest? Is this real? Does this move me? The rest is icing.
I never had everything I wanted, but I never wanted for anything.
I think, to me, I always want to tell the truth. I never want to sugarcoat things. I've never been accused of pulling punches.
I'm proud to carry that torch and be like, 'I'm gay! I'm black! Hang your dreams on me. Hang your hopes on me. I'll carry them to the best of my ability.'
All the writers for 'The Chi,' they're all phenomenal, so I'm just working on projects with them. They have great scripts.
I love basketball! When I'm flying, and I have on sweats, a hat, and sneakers, people always assume that I'm a high school kid going to an away game. And I always say no, I'm a fan of the game.
I sort of knew very early on that I wanted to be a writer. Even in high school, I was a big movie buff, very much into TV shows, and would critique them.
I actually really liked 'The Help.' I know that may not be a popular thing, but I thought it was a solid film. It wasn't 'Roots.' It wasn't 'The Color Purple.' But you couldn't pick it apart in terms of storytelling, and I thought the characters were well written.
I was such a fan of Aziz. I watched 'Parks and Rec' like every other self-respecting hipster and loved his character so much and just thought he was so interesting.
I always love where I can plug a black woman in anywhere, and when that comes up, I don't say, 'Oh that has to be a black woman.' I say, 'Why not a black woman?'
It took me forever to leave Chicago. I went to Columbia College because I wasn't ready to leave! My professors had to kick me in the pants to move to Los Angeles.
You have to write and develop and wait for the world to catch up to your art.
I definitely have been very mindful of what kind of leader and creator I want to be. A lot of that has to with looking at the writers that you work with. They're all like your children. They all need love, but different versions of it.
My mother was born into a segregated America. How crazy is that?
It's weird because I see black gay characters on television all the time, but do I relate to them? Not always, because they're set pieces.
I'm a big fan of Nora Ephron, who believed everything is copy, and I agree.
I remember going to 'The Wood' and leaving my friend and my mom, who I came with, to go sit in the front row because I was so excited.
To be yourself is truly a revolutionary act, and I think more and more people should try it, because it's gotten me a pretty cool life.
There's so many other talented women of color who write funny things every day, and I want them to be recognized, I want them to have a seat at the table because we're out here.
I think the stakes are always high when you're an artist of color - to get things right, to get things perfect and make everybody happy.
I've been obsessed with television since I was 7 years old, and I've always been writing on some level.
I think that for the most part, black people specifically have sort of been used as props in TV shows as a way to move story along or as a way to make things more entertaining.
Like 'Sex and the City' - if you're a New Yorker, you knew half the places they were going to. I want 'The Chi' to feel that way as well.
What's 'Atlanta' about? Technically, it's about a couple guys who are friends, but to me, 'Atlanta' is about black lives. I'm getting a real look at what black life means in Atlanta.
It's always been my intention to never be boxed in. I never like to do something that it feels like I've done before.
Being born gay, black, and female is not a revolutionary act. Being proud to be a gay black female is.
Being on Netflix lets us be experimental. We can do crazy things.
I feel like I wanna have a series of moments. It's scary when they say you're having a moment, because moments are momentary.
When you're not as accessible, you get in a tent and get in your own head, and you start doing things that are a little out of touch. I think we've seen it happen with certain artists... people can't touch them; they're not touching people. They're only touching people in their circle.
Talk to any black person in my age group, and they'll say 'A Different World' is why they went to college. The show literally changed my life, and it boggles my mind that it doesn't get the kind of love it deserves.
The truth is, for me, when I was a young black girl who knew I was different, was watching TV, I would always be staring at the TV set looking for myself, and I didn't see me. And when you don't see yourself, you start to think that you don't matter, or you start to think that something is wrong with you.
Maybe some young girl seeing me on the Emmy stage may have meant something for them.
Growing up, I didn't just watch 'The Cosby Show.' I watched 'Growing Pains' and 'Family Ties,' too.
People always go, 'Damn, how you got all this happening at once?' I tell them it's the Chicago in me.
It's interesting how things you hear as a kid take on a whole new meaning when you are an adult.
I don't need an Emmy to tell me to go to work. I've been working.