Issa Rae is gearing up to release the fifth and final season of HBO’s hit series ‘Insecure’ and is reflecting on some bad advice she received early on in her career about how to make a show successful.
“From the jump in creating the show, it was put in my mind that you had to have a white character to be a bridge, and for people to care, for it to get awards, for it to be considered worthy of the television canon,” the six-time Emmy nominated actress, writer and producer divulged in a recent interview.
Rae explained that a white former colleague advised her that adding a white characters would make her shows more relatable.
“She was just like, ‘Girl, if you want this s— 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 s—, and it’ll blow up,’” Rae told Jamal Jordan for Mic. “And then it literally happened.”
The 36-year-old Los Angeles native shared that the same approach stuck with her when she launched “Insecure” in 2016. The character of Frieda, a white co-worker of Rae’s character, Issa Dee, portrayed by Lisa Joyce was developed.
Rae added that she eventually started rejecting the use of unnecessary characters.
“I was like, ‘F— no! This is not a show about Frieda!’” Rae said. “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.’”
Rae told Jordan her focus is now just on creating authentic storylines.
“I hope that not having to think of an audience that isn’t us — and being OK with that — is passed on,” she says. “I want people to know we are enough.”
The fifth and final season of “Insecure” premieres off Oct. 24 on HBO.