Fresh off Lena Waithe’s historic Emmy win, Showtime has released the first teaser trailer for her new drama series The Chi. This year, Waithe became the first black woman to ever be nominated, not to mention win an Emmy for comedy writing, for her semi-autobiographical Master of None episode “Thanksgiving.” With The Chi, Waithe is stepping away from comedy for a powerful look at Chicago’s South Side.
The series follows a group of African-Americans and the ways their lives intersect. According to Showtime, the series “explores the humanity behind the headlines sensationalizing the South Side of Chicago.” Waithe grew up on the South Side herself, later graduating from Columbia College Chicago, and her connection to the city runs deep, as she told the Chicago Tribune recently.
“My family still lives in Chicago, my mother, my sister, my nephew, my family is there. So even though I am not living there, I feel very close to it and I visit very often … So what I wanted to do was write a show that would follow multiple black men from different walks of life with different goals and different ideas of what it means to be a man, and what it looks like trying to survive the South Side of Chicago.”
Waithe is executive producing The Chi with another born-and-raised South Sider, Common, and the show stars Straight Outta Compton‘s Jason Mitchell as Brandon, a young man with big dreams and a lot of responsibility to his mother and younger brother.
The Chi premieres on Showtime at 10 p.m. Sunday, January 7.