Issa Rae on the Evolution of an Awkward Black Girl, and More

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Apr 14, 2020

HBO‘s Insecure” returned with its fourth season on April 12, and the show’s co-creator and star, Issa Rae, talked about her personal creative journey, the show’s critics, and more on Deadline’s "New Hollywood Podcast," which aired April 14.

Hosts Amanda N’Duka and Dino Ray Ramos, obvious “Insecure” fans, query Rae on where her character is going and how that transformation will ultimately affect her friendships and relationships. “From the beginning, this show has been about a girl who doesn’t know who she is or where she’s going and throughout the seasons we’ve seen Issa grow incrementally,” Rae said. “And I think this season, especially, is about her coming into who she is.”

See below for more must-listen snippets from the podcast: 

Going from “Awkward Black Girl” to Season 4 “Insecure”

"I created ["Insecure"] with the intention of making an archetype that I was complaining about not seeing. I was constantly like, ‘Why is there just such a singular, at times degrading, representation of Black women on my television screen, and ‘I’m so tired of people creating these characters that don’t look like me or any of my friends; that don’t look like anybody real that I know personally’… For me it was about making that because I had a blog at the time and someone was like, ‘You complain a lot. Make it then.’"

Witnessing the evolution of the show’s perception and its accompanying critics:

"We were under a lot of scrutiny during the time and I was like, what the fuck? This is a show and I’ve never tried to proclaim to represent Black people and people keep heralding it as this thing that is supposed to represent Black people and I don’t want that. I’m also getting the unjust criticism for that so fuck that. And I wanted a break…. By the time Season 4 came and we had that break, I was so excited to be back, and I’m appreciative again.

The dating struggle for Asian men and Black women:

That storyline [with Alexander Hodge in Season 3] in particular was a playoff of that excerpt in my book [“The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”] of exploring that dynamic but not necessarily as blatant or as overt. I also don’t love interracial relationships onscreen where that’s all that’s talked about.  People who are in interracial relationships don’t talk about being in interracial relationships all the time as far as I know. 

To hear the full episode, listen below: