Issa Rae Talks “Insecure”, Male Nudity In TV And How Shonda Rimes Paved The Way, Says She And Other Black Actors Can Be “Unapologetic In Our Blackness”

Blogged By: @carmen.roxanna

“Insecure” star Issa Rae spoke to the audience at Mipcom in Cannes, where she was being honored as Personality of the Year and discussed her white audience, #ShondaRimes and the flip on male nudity due to the show’s writers‘ being female.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Rae stated, “Where television in the ‘90s and early 2000s [was] geared to capture the biggest audiences possible, which meant not addressing certain things or being tame with certain storylines, I think with the advent of cable and streaming, the desire to be ridiculously broad…isn’t really important. It’s really about authenticity.” She believes the shift has allowed her and other African-American performers to be “unapologetic in our blackness…There’s a telling of the truth that there just hasn’t been in the past.”

TV critic Iris Brey conducted the onstage Q&A with Rae and noted that 62% of “Insecure’s” viewers are white. Issa responded, “That threw me all the way the f**k off,” Rae said to laughter from the audience. “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, turning on the TV and going, ‘Aargh, I know this story already.’ It’s overdue.”

Rae reflected on her digital roots and the power of the online community, especially from witnessing the success of Shonda Rhimes’ “Scandal” – its groundbreaking status as an addictive show with a professional black female lead that used social media to build a loyal, active following. “She paved the way for so many of us.” #Scandal “legitimized the online audience and the online voice in a completely different way. And so, yes, I definitely look to her for inspiration for just starting a movement.”

According to Variety, in the show “Insecure,” the characters are searching for inspiration, love, and sex. But for Rae, it’s been important to show “dark people having sex and being desirable” in the honest and human ways that have been taken for granted on series with white characters. And as a heterosexual woman, working with mostly female writers, that’s meant plenty of male nudity on “Insecure.”

“We’re telling the show through the female lens, the female gaze, which is pretty rare. There’s this male gaze we’ve always been subjected to, and this is an opportunity to reverse that.”

About MsJennyb

Jen is a Writer and Content Curator for Baller Alert, who writes under the alias “MsJennyb.” In this role, Jen develops and contributes relevant special-themed content to attract readers. Before joining the Entertainment Industry via Baller Alert, Jen spent one year as a Freelance Writer and two years as a Human Resources assistant in a corporate office. Jen has a degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University with a concentration in Africana Studies.

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