All Articles Tagged "issa rae"
We’ve all seen a recent influx of Black excellence on primetime TV — and we’re not complaining. Empire, How to Get Away With Murder, and Black-ish, just to name a few, are successful shows with Black leads that are dominating the nighttime network slots. And Issa Rae, creator of Awkward Black Girl, says it’s all about the money.
Isn’t it always?
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Rae notes that viewers are increasingly seeing diversity on TV because network executives are finally realizing the profitability of Black actors and actresses on nighttime dramas:
“I think [TV executives are] like, ‘Oh we see what works and let’s replicate it,'” she told host Marc Lamont Hill. “I don’t think it’s about even blackness or diversity. It’s really about, ‘Oh my gosh there are eyeballs.’ How do we capitalize? How do we take advantage?”
Rae notes that the reason behind the new proliferation of Black leads is social media, which sparked a light bulb among network executives:
“Social media changed the game in that you’re seeing all of these tweets, you’re seeing all these trending topics from … Black people who are expressing what they want to see. Now people take notice,” she added.
Though Rae concedes to the fact that TV executives are recognizing that catering to a Black viewership is lucrative, the Awkward Black Girl creator says this “trend” might be short-lived:
“Until you have people in positions of power that have varied experiences, nothing will change,” she said. “Honestly, we’re not on their radar. They don’t know. They’re not really thinking about us. If you have people in positions of power that don’t have very many Black friends, that don’t really understand the Black experience, they’re not thinking about it and there are not enough people concerned with it.”
We can only hope that Rae’s fears of a temporary Black presence on TV are unfounded and that we will have a continuation of the Black narrative unfold right before our eyes on the tube.
YouTube star Rae has 200,000 subscribers, 20 million video views, a Shorty Award for Awkward Black Girl, and a brand new book titled The Misadventures of the Awkward Black Girl.
Issa Rae may be an awkward girl but nothing about her business moves are awkward.
According to Deadline, the filmmaker is working on a new project titled Insecure with HBO. The project will focus on the experiences of an African American woman in today’s day and age. The series was originally set to premiere in 2013. However, it never came to light.
Now, Issa is set to bring it back with Larry Wilmore. Wilmore co-created and wrote the project with Issa. As of right now, no debut date has been released but Deadline is reporting it will be a part of HBO’s 2015 comedy pilot slate.
Congratulations to Issa! We hope Insecure receives a green light confirmation.
Variety reports that HBO has greenlit the pilot for the comedy show, Insecure, that will star Issa Rae. It will be based on the awkward experiences African Americans encounter every day including race relations and relationships.
Initially the show was in development in 2013 but Larry Wilmore who will serve as the show’s executive producer landed The Nightly Show on Comedy Central. Rae, who became a YouTube sensation with her hit webseries “Awkward Black Girl” will also serve as the co-executive producer of Insecure.
Both Wilmore and Rae wrote the pilot for Insecure.
Congratulations to Larry and Issa! We’re excited to see when the pilot premieres!
Shonda Rhimes is Issa Rae’s mentor, the creator of the hit “Awkward Black Girl” web series. Therefore it is only right for Rae to be tackling TV with gusto. She will be premiering three television pilots produced by her company ColorCreative.Tv at the 2014 Urbanworld Film Festival.
A dark comedy following the odd couple relationship of a depressed carpet cleaner who’s forced to do clean up jobs for a no-nonsense hitman. Written by Shawn Boxe and directed by Victoria Mahoney.
Words With Girls
A lesbian relationship comedy centered on a group of 20-something, fast-talking, attitude-having LA transplants. Written by Brittani Nichols and directed by Tessa Blake.
A quirky buddy comedy about two best pals navigating love, life and medical marijuana in urban Los Angeles. Written by Syreeta Singleton and directed by Daven Baptiste.
Besides launching ColorCreative.tv, Rae is in the process of developing a network television show with her mentor Rhimes.
Spring is here and love is in the air — all thanks to a new Issa Rae webseries!
Rae who kept us locked into “The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl” is debuting a new webseries called “First.” Dubbed the modern-day Love Jones with a leading man just as cute as Larenz Tate, the series will revolve around a couple who were childhood love interests.
The leading characters, Robin and Charles, fall back in love as adults but “First” allow viewers to see how things are not as simple as a childhood love affair. According to Cultured Starved, the webseries was created by Jahmela Biggs. Biggs has previously worked on the NBC series “Whitney” and Magic Johnson’s Network ASPiRE’s “Cocoa Love.” Co-staring along with Biggs is newcomer Will Catlett.
Below is the trailer and a clip from the first episode of “First!” It debuts, tonight on the Issa Rae Channel. Will you tune in?
[UPDATE] Click the next page to see the premiere of “First!”
Forbes magazine’s annual ‘30 Under 30‘ list recognizes 30 people under the age of 30 in 15 different fields–from business and technology to entertainment, education and sports. This year, an incredible 14 African-American women made the list.
Issae Rae, the 28-year-old creator of the hit YouTube comedy series on “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl” made the list. As did 10-year-old Oscar-nominated actress Quevenzhane Wallis, who is starring in the upcoming musical of Annie, and innovative singer Janelle Monae, 28. WNBA star Brittney Griner, who is openly gay, of the Phoenix Mercury was named as well, along with pop star Rihanna, 25. (There are also a number of black men on the list, including Fruitvale Station star and director Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler, 26 and 27 years old respectively.)
The list not only includes celebrities, but other women who have made their mark in their industries, such as Katrina Craigwell, 28, the Global manager of digital marketing for General Electric; 26-year-old Lauren Wilson, who as policy counsel for Free Press fights major broadcast mergers; LaToya Peterson, 29, owner and editor of Racialicous, an online media outlet that covers race, politics and culture; and Jessica Matthews, 25, CEO of Uncharted Play, who we profiled.
Haven’t heard of Uzoamaka Maduka, founder and editor in chief of literary magazine The American Reader? Forbes has and they picked the 25-year-old for the list. Mandela Shumacher-Hodge, the director of Startup Weekend Education also appears on the list, as does Jessica Holsey, who is the 29-year old co-founder of Sutsy Party, which makes eco-friendly, compostable tableware.
Don’t think black women are making strides in tech? Well, Aminatou Sow, the 28-year-old co-founder of Tech LadyMafia, is proving disbelievers wrong and Forbes recognized her. Tech LadyMafia is a group for women in tech to bond and support one another.
[h/t The Grio]
In 2013, Robin Thicke Blurred the Lines, “Scandal” and “Orange is the New Black” were the shows to watch and Miley Cyrus killed off her Disney Hannah Montana image and twerked her way across America. So who will steal our attention in 2014? Here are our predictions for entertainers to watch out for in 2014.
Before 2013, actress Tika Sumpter had a couple of movie roles and television credits under her belt. Best known as Layla Williamson in the soap opera “One Live To Live” and for her recurring role on “Gossip Girl,” the Queens native landed the lead in the most watched show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network: Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots.” The show earned the highest ratings on OWN and was renewed for a second season midway through the first. Expect to see Sumpter continue her reign in 2014 with the hit show as well as starring in BET’s “Being Mary Jane,” alongside Gabrielle Union. Flexing her comedic chops, Sumpter will also appear in “Ride Along” with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, which hits theaters at the top of the year.
There’s an underlying myth plaguing the African-American community that wearing one’s natural tresses is an impediment to success. In the case of Vanessa VanDyke, a 12-year-old girl threatened to be expelled due to her voluminous mane, many people deemed her natural hair to be “unprofessional.” But is the issue much deeper than this?
For centuries, the unique characteristics of Black women have been undermined by Eurocentric standards of beauty and we’ve all been wired to believe that somehow our hair — in its purest, natural state — affects our skills, abilities, and competence in the workplace. Check out some of the ladies who challenged these erroneous notions and grabbed success by the horns — coils, kinks, curls and all.
Earlier this year, when Andrea Lewis announced that she had partnered with Issa Rae to launch the Black Actress web series, Andrea talked about how the show would be a much needed dose of comic relief surrounding the very real things women of color go through in Hollywood. A conversation that is still picking up steam in the wake of the recent controversy at SNL and the response to the “WhiteGirlsRock” hashtag that trended during the Black Girls Rock telecast.
Now that Black Actress is finally here, I reached out to Andrea again to get her thoughts on how the series contributes to the discussion, what viewers can expect from season one and which celebrities we’ll see over the course of the season’s seven episodes.
MadameNoire (MN): Now that Black Actress is here, what can viewers expect?
Andrea Lewis (Lewis): Viewers can expect a funny relatable story that will give them a little more insight into what it’s like as an actress and a ton of cameos from industry pros telling you about their story.
MN: Speaking of industry pros, can you share who some of these special guests will be?
Lewis: There are a lot of cameos in the show and I was so happy about that because everyone was so supportive of the show. Some of the faces you’ll see are Grammy winner Melanie Fiona, singer and actor Tristan ‘Mack’ Wilds, Sports Illustrated model Damaris Lewis, actress Naturi Naughton and more!
MN: The dialogue about the lack of roles/opportunities/presence of Black women in television and film is heating up. Do you feel that the work you’ve done on Black Actress contributes to the conversation? In what way?
Lewis: Yes. I think Black Actress does contribute to the conversation because it will hopefully help people become more open to the idea of seeing women of color on screen.
I had the chance to employ a lot of women of color in order to make this series happen. And I think that’s what we need, more people doing and creating projects that help make a change because that’s the only way we’ll start to see more of ourselves on screen.
Earlier this year, Degrassi’s Andrea Lewis announced 2013 will be the year where not only will you know her name (again) but most importantly the work she produces. Thus her new web series, Black Actress, was born. The series takes the bull by the horns, revealing how black actresses try to perfect their craft in an industry that suffocates them. Produced by Lewis, Issa Rae and Tatyana Ali, Black Actress addresses black women walking the thin line of supporting their fellow “sistas” while remaining competitive.
Prior to the web series premiere, veteran actress Viola Davis shared with Oprah during OWN’s Next Chapter:
“We’re in crisis mode as black actresses. Not in the sheer number of roles that are offered, but in the quality of roles. When you only have two or three categories for black actresses, it’s a natural instinct. If you throw a piece of cheese into a room full of rats, they’re going to claw at each other.”
The first episode of Black Actress opens up with our childhood friend (in our head) Ali. Famously known for her role on The Fresh Prince as Ashley Banks, Ali shares how acting brought her out of a rut while attending Harvard University. As Ali unfolds her personal story, viewers are introduced to Kori Bailey, played by Lewis – a black actress trying to navigate her way back into an industry where she used to be the “it” girl. Viewers follow Bailey throughout her numerous auditions and even catch her during a bathroom pep talk running down a laundry list of why she will and can book every audition. Though some may not relate to her need to constantly repeat mantras of positive affirmations, the scenes from Black Actress left me feeling nostalgic.
I reminisced on weekends during my last year of junior high school, filled with auditions for performing arts high schools in New York City. My prospective concentration in high school would have been and eventually became vocal music. I spent endless hours rehearsing the song Edelweiss from The Sound Of Music only for my 13-year-old self to feel mildly insecure. Masses of pre-teen black vocalists usually showed up and out at auditions with “His Eyes Are On The Sparrow” or their Grand Concourse rendition of Alicia Keys “Fallin.” Just like Kori in Black Actress, I understand it is hard to comprehend if you will be chosen for a role when the time slot of your audition is saturated with sameness . The arts world will trip you up as you create your niche. The messages you receive from directors, whether it be drama, music or fine arts, often become blurred and you often wonder if the difference or the norm will set you a part.
Lewis’ webseries offers viewers an uncomfortable piece of honesty by shedding light on how uninterested people are about you during auditions. Or if they are interested, they too, become actors to throw you off your A-game. Like life, the demos you showcase for, will teach how to hone every moment as though you represent the final product you desire. Black Actress prepares its viewers for roles of a lifetime.
Watch the premiere of Black Actress below!