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Issa Rae On Black Shows Getting Canceled: 'You're Seeing...Our Stories Are Less Of A Priority'

When it was announced a couple of weeks ago that HBO Max canceled the Issa Rae-produced series Rap Sh!t, social media was in an uproar. Many fans questioned its cancelation and the now incomplete storylines. Others pointed out what seems to be a recent trend with Black shows. Since last year, HBO Max canceled two other Issa-produced shows, A Black Lady Sketch Show and Sweet Life: Los Angeles. The streaming giant also chopped South Side, Love Life, and the Ballroom competition show LEGENDARY. After two seasons, NBC cut the budding popular comedy Grand Crew, and Showtime let go of the non-traditional late-night talk show Ziwe.


With each chop, many of us are wondering what is left of our stories. Issa spoke with Net-a-Porter's digital publication, Porter, amid Rap Sh!t's cancelation. “You’re seeing so many Black shows get cancelled, 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,” she said.

While there has been a push for more diversity in Hollywood, and the tides seemed to be changing (i.e., recent Black representation at Emmy's, Golden Globes, and Oscar noms), the number of cancelation of these series tell a different story. The American Fiction star is even looking to possibly change directions in her career. “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,” she explained.

Issa Rae at 2024 Emmy Awards

Issa Rae at 2024 Emmy Awards

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

As of now, Issa is excited to get "back at it" amid last year's writer's and actor's strikes. The actress, writer, and producer has her hand in everything from music to spirits, and we love seeing the growth. However, we first fell in love with the Insecure star from the TV, or if you're an OG fan, the internet, and so we're always anticipating what she creates next.

“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 said. “I’m embracing that challenge. 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.”

Ten years from now, we may even see Issa in a whole new industry because, according to her, she plans to transition into a life of service. I know that's right!

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Feature image by Tommaso Boddi/Golden Globes 2024/Golden Globes 2024 via Getty Images

 

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