In a recent interview with Net-a-Porter, Hollywood writer-producer Issa Rae discussed the challenges of creating Black-centered content in the evolving landscape of the entertainment industry.
Reflecting on her experiences with the studio system, Rae expressed concern about the increasing cancellation of Black shows and the dismissal of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) executives.
“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 observed, highlighting the shift in industry dynamics that has prompted her to contemplate alternative paths as a creator.
Currently under a five-year overall deal with WarnerMedia, Rae, known for her Emmy-nominated comedy Insecure, acknowledged the recent cancellation of her comedy series Rap Sh!t by HBO's Max platform after two seasons. This setback, coupled with the cancellation of her Emmy-nominated A Black Lady Sketch Show, has reinforced Rae’s resolve to explore independence in her future creative endeavors.
She expressed pessimism about the industry's current lack of accountability for prioritizing specific narratives.
“It’s made me take more steps to try to be independent down the line if I have to,” she remarked, underscoring her dedication to ensuring the visibility of a broader range of Black stories.
Despite the challenges, Rae remains committed to diversifying representations of Blackness onscreen. In a discussion about her role in the satirical film American Fiction, where she plays author Sintara Golden, Rae emphasized the need for more nuanced portrayals of Black women.
“I’ve been laser-focused on getting these projects up and running,” she declared, indicating her determination to tell authentic and diverse stories.
Looking ahead, Rae shared her aspirations to transition towards philanthropy in a decade, emphasizing her desire to contribute to society through service.
However, she made it clear that her immediate focus is on her entertainment career, stating, “This year is really about firing on all cylinders. That’s what I’m excited about.”
Although her most recent mind baby, Rap Sh!t, just met its end, Rae expressed gratitude for the fans and crew.
“I’m so proud of and grateful for Syreeta Singleton, our cast, writers, and crew that made this show possible,” she expressed in a statement. Despite setbacks, Rae continues to pursue her creative passions, echoing her determination to go hard in the world of entertainment and collaborate with dream partners.