Issa Rae and her current rise as a leading creative voice was definitely a slow burn, and most probably wouldn’t have expected a show like Insecure to become as big as it has. The star and creator of the hit HBO show can credit white viewers as part of the reason the show is enjoying success at the moment.
Issa Rae was at Cannes this week in where she’ll be receiving a “Performer Of The Year” nod and was part of a candid Q&A discussion. In the chat, Rae revealed that there is indeed a cultural shift in what kind of content is available to viewers and the types of stories that are being told. This includes an increasing number of white viewers that watch shows like Insecure, to which Rae expressed some mild shock.
But her meteoric rise from the online star of “Awkward Black Girl” to Emmy nominee for “Insecure” isn’t due simply to an ardent black fan base. As TV critic Iris Brey, who conducted the onstage Q&A with Rae, noted, 62% of “Insecure’s” viewers are white.
“That threw me all the way the f— off,” Rae said, to laughter from her listeners. “Which is great. It makes me want to go back in time and find that person [who said], ‘No one’s interested in watching these’” shows about people of color.
“Even white people are tired of seeing white-people shows,” Rae added to even more laughs, “turning on the TV and going, ‘Aargh, I know this story already.’ It’s overdue.”
Rae noted in the discussion a known fact that most of Insecure‘s writing staff are Black women, with one lone white male writer among them.
In the discussion, Rae also talked about Shonda Rhimes and how she’s inspired her and others to lead the way in changing the balance and approach in TV and film production.
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