Producer-actress Lena Waithe recently garnered comparisons to director Jordan Peele this week after the trailer debuted for her and Little Marvin’s upcoming anthology series, “Them.”
Critics on social media slammed the “Master of None” star for copping Peele’s thriller “Us.” Ironically, the trailer for “Them” premiered on the two-year-anniversary of Peele’s film.
The official series synopsis reads: “The 1950s-set first season centers on a Black family who moves from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood during the period known as The Great Migration. The family’s idyllic home becomes ground zero where malevolent forces, next-door and otherworldly, threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them.”
The series stars Deborah Ayorinde, Ashley Thomas, Alison Pill, Melody Hurd, and Ryan Kwanten. The movie also stars “Us” actress Shahadi Wright Joseph.
Many people accused Waithe of selling Black trauma. Meanwhile, others claimed she virtually copied other projects including, Peele’s “Get Out” and the HBO series “Lovecraft Country” — from theme to even aesthetic. It should be noted that “Them” was created by Little Marvin, and Waithe stands alongside other executive producers, including Miri Yoon and Rony Lee.
During an interview at SXSW, Marvin spoke about the show’s origins, stating: “Like everyone, I’m thinking a lot about this country lately and the American dream. Who gets their keys to it, who, historically speaking, have not gotten their keys to it and why? There’s really no more quintessential part of the American dream than the dream of homeownership. Especially for Black folks, it’s a point of great pride. So exploring the nightmare beneath that dream was really at the beginning.”
Marvin also noted that he started working on the project “a few years back” when many videos of Black people “being terrorized in some way” were circulating the internet. Still, it was Waithe who received the brunt of the backlash.
One Twitter user wrote, “How did Lena Waithe go from saying ‘your art is stunted when you’re trying to pretend to be something you aren’t’ to copying tf outta Barry Jenkins and Jordan Peele???”
Another person commented, “So Lena Waithe just gone do a mash-up of ‘Us,’ ‘Get Out,’ and ‘His House,’ while in the same time era as ‘Lovecraft Country?'” They added, “Now Sis, you don’t have your own ideas? you think this gone redeem you from Queen&Slim (it’s not) you think this sh-t is radical? (it’s not).”
“Does Lena Waithe not know how to write without including massive amounts of unnecessary black trauma or???” a third expressed.
A fourth wrote, “Black trauma is scary enough without Lena Waithe and her minions making a horror film out of it. #THEM.”
“Lena Waithe saw Jordan Peele’s homework and said ‘don’t worry Ima change a few things around so it don’t look the same 😂.'”
Waithe has yet to address these accusations. “Them” will be available to stream on Prime Video on April 9. Watch the trailer below.