Issa Rae is no stranger to speaking out on the lack of diversity in Hollywood. Creating shows that mainly showcased African-Americans have always been of importance to the producer. However, not everyone around her felt the same.
Issa recently sat down with Mic, sharing why her hit show Insecure didn’t always feature an all-black cast. Rae recalls having a conversation with a former colleague during the creation of her first series, Awkward Black Girl, who told her to add a white character if she wanted to succeed.
“She was just like, ‘Girl, if you want this shit to set off to the next level, you got to put a white character in there, then white people will care about it, then NPR is going to write about your shit, and it’ll blow up.’”
The advice stuck with Rae because she then added a white love interest for her YouTube series. And not only that, Issa did the same thing with Insecure. Rae’s character had a white coworker/ friend, played by Lisa Joyce, at the non-profit organization where she worked.
Issa says she started to actively resist adding in white characters after her creative team asked to prioritize the character to bridge white people.
“And I was like, F—k no! This is not a show about Freida! That was when I started actively resisting. When Issa quit work and we got rid of the We Got Y’all storyline, I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, our show is just about Black characters now in the most refreshing way.’”
Joyce’s character was soon written out of the script at the end of season 3. Nevertheless, Insecure is coming up on its fifth and final season and is set to debut on October 24.