Issa Rae isn’t letting the disheartening slew of canceled “Black shows” stop her from working on new projects.
The Hollywood multihyphenate opened up about the state of Black TV in her cover story for Net-a-Porter’s online publication Porter. The American Fiction star weighed in on how the erasure of Black representation is an issue attacking multiple facets of Hollywood — not just what makes it to the small screen.
“You’re seeing so many Black shows get canceled, you’re seeing so many executives — especially on the DEI side — get canned. You’re seeing very clearly now that our stories are less of a priority,” Rae said. “I am pessimistic because there’s no one holding anybody accountable – and I can, sure, but also at what cost? I can’t force you to make my stuff. It’s made me take more steps to try to be independent down the line if I have to.”
The actress and screenwriter added, “I don’t think it’s a secret that many white audiences and critics tend to reward traumatizing depictions or their own biased perceptions of what Blackness is.”
Rae’s Porter interview was published less than two weeks after news broke of HBO canceling her series Rap Sh!t after two seasons, despite a 100% rating score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Within the past year, other Black-led shows that have been canceled include A Black Lady Sketch Show, The Wonder Years, Ziwe, Truth Be Told, Swagger and Run the World.
Regardless of the setbacks she and other Black creators in Hollywood face, Rae’s dedication to telling Black stories through her uniquely humorous and undoubtedly relevant lens is still present. Over a decade after she rose in popularity with her quirky web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, Rae is still “excited” about her future work and collaborations.
“I’m writing a couple of different projects — one for myself and one to produce and create with others — and I’ve been feeling so inspired and excited to get back at it,” she noted. “The industry is in flux, so it’s really inspired me to focus and hone in on what stories I want to tell. I’ve been laser-focused on getting these projects up and running.”
Rae added, “I’ve had faith in the talent I have to captivate a very specific audience – and I think about that audience constantly.”
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