The latest episode of WNYC Studios’ "Sooo Many White Guys" podcast features "Insecure" creator and star Issa Rae, discussing topics ranging from her childhood to the broader cultural climate of her industry. She also tells host Phoebe Robinson that she’s working on the show’s second season.
Rae says that although there’s new pressure on the show’s second season—owing in part to her recent Golden Globe nomination for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series—Comedy or Musical"—"it’s still a story about the minutiae of being Black, at the end of the day." She seeks to balance the hype with the content in the new season, which does not yet have a premiere date.
Rae goes on to tell Robinson about the ridicule she faced while attending public school in Los Angeles, with both White and Black classmates often telling her she didn’t sound or act Black. "I had to ask myself why it was such an issue, what that meant and what people were trying to say when they [questioned my Blackness]. What I took most offense to was that people thought that I didn’t know I was Black, and that I didn’t appreciate my own Black culture. I found myself trying to overcompensate in a way that didn’t make sense."
Rae also discusses her Color Creative initiative, which she launched in 2014 to give writers from underrepresented groups a digital platform to showcase and eventually sell series pilots. Rae first achieved success with her web series, "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl," and she tells Robinson that working outside the Hollywood system for that series led her to create the initiative.
"The network pilot model is so old and outdated," she explains. [The initiative creates] the pilots for young writers who have underrepresented voices, so you can have the funds to make your work, have something to show for it, build an audience around it and have that weight behind something to be like, ‘Oh, I created something, give me a chance, I’m dope.’"
Rae then discusses her goals, saying she wants to have her own studio and "do what Oprah did, but for entertainment" by expanding her creative platform. She also wants to use her growing clout to fight the open racism linked to President Donald Trump‘s campaign and election. "I’ve had the mentality that anybody who [has openly discriminatory beliefs] is in the minority, and they’re dumb," she says. "How do we make them feel stupid again?"
Listen to the episode in full below.