Issa Rae Is Considering Going ‘Independent’ Amid Black TV Show Cancellations: ‘I Can’t Force You To Make My Stuff’

by Gee NY
Photograph by Glen Wilson/HBO

Acclaimed actress, writer, and producer, Issa Rae, recently expressed her concern about the diminishing representation of Black stories on television.

Known for her mantra of rooting for “everybody Black,” she said in a candid conversation with Net-A-Porter that she has been making positive strides towards becoming independent as fewer Black shows receive the green light.

The interview, featured in a recent cover story, captures Issa Rae’s perspective on the current state of Black narratives in the entertainment industry.

She remarked:

“You’re seeing so many Black shows get canceled,” shedding light on the stark reality that fewer Black stories with Black casts are gracing the silver screen.

In 2023, a wave of cancellations hit several shows that were representative of the Black community, including ABC dramas like “Grown-ish” and “The Wonder Years,” Showtime’s “Ziwe,” Freeform’s “Everything’s Trash,” and FX’s “Kindred.”

Last year also witnessed the cancellation of “Truth Be Told” on Apple TV+ and “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” a critically acclaimed series created by comedian Robin Thede and produced by Issa Rae, which garnered 13 Emmy nominations over its four seasons on HBO.

Variety reported that even Rae’s own project, “Rap Sh!t,” faced cancellation at HBO Max after just two seasons, adding to the growing list of Black shows getting the axe.

Issa Rae expressed concern about the changing landscape, noting:

“You’re seeing so many executives – especially on the DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion] side – get canned. You’re seeing very clearly now that our stories are less of a priority.”

Despite being a trailblazer in the TV industry, Issa Rae remains unconvinced that enough is being done to bring about sustainable change.

She expressed a sense of pessimism, emphasizing the lack of accountability in the industry. While acknowledging her ability to advocate for change, Rae pondered the cost of pushing for her stories to be prioritized, stating:

“I can’t force you to make my stuff.”

Issa Rae’s reflections shed light on the broader issues of representation and accountability within the entertainment industry.

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