Insecure’s Issa Rae Is Set To Produce 2 New, Very Different Shows (Video)
Fresh from the announcement of a Golden Globe nomination for her star-turn in Insecure, Issa Rae is on track to co-executive produce two new shows for HBO.
Teaming up with Emmy-winning, ex-Daily Show Travon Free, Him Or Her will tell the story of a bisexual Black man navigating the dating scene and is described as a comedy. The other series, Sweet Life, a drama set in the so-called “Black Beverly Hills of Windsor Hills,” will chart the “coming of age stories” of teenagers growing up in the chic Los Angeles neighborhood.
Travon Free is set to write Him Or Her, with ColorCreative.TV partner Deniese Davis and 3 Arts to EP both offerings, and Issa Rae sharing writing duties with Scandal producer Raamla Mohamed on Sweet Life.
Thirty-two-year-old actress, author and sometime MC, Issa Rae started out on YouTube in 2011 with “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” – a series that revolutionized the way the stories of Black women, especially young Black women, were represented on the screen. With its more than 260,000 subscribers and 20 million views, it caught the attention of Pharrell Williams and Shonda Rimes, producer of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. Insecure, also on HBO, had comparable success and is slated to return for its third series next year.
Sweet Life may be drawing on Rae’s childhood, some of which was spent in the wealthy View Park-Windsor Hills neighborhood in Los Angeles. This is a place where Issa has admitted that she sometimes found it hard to fit in and felt “berated for acting white” during her school days. Her New York Times best-selling memoir, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, published in 2015 while wry and funny also opened up about how as a teenager she often felt out of sync with those around her.
Rae has long said that her goal is to represent the diversity of Black experience without resorting to stereotypes. Speaking about Insecure, the Stanford-graduate who majored in African and African-American Studies told Refinery29’s Arianna Davis that she “just wants it to feel like it’s normalized regular Blackness.”
What she hopes to achieve with her work, she says is “that people will look at it and be like oh, this was part of the start of diversifying Blackness without it constantly dealing with crazy drama or racial strife. Insecure is just a slice of life. It’s just Blackness, told in a regular way.”
Now with her two new shows via HBO in production, it seems certain not only will Issa Rae’s personal star continue to rise, but her stated ambition to reflect the complex, diverse nature of the Black American experience will continue to gain in strength.