Issa Rae’s Insecure is set to debut on HBO next month, but before that, she spoke with Vanity Fair about her new series alongside Insecure‘s executive producer and director Melina Matsoukas.
Larry Wilmore also served as the co-creator of the upcoming series along with show-runner Prentice Penny (Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Happy Endings).
But for Vanity Fair, Rae and Matsoukas took the reins to talk about Insecure.
Matsoukas has an extensive and impressive list of directing credit on her resume for music videos including Rihanna’s “We Found Love” as well as a multitude of Beyonce’s visuals. The latest being the powerful “Formation” video. (She’s also directed Queen Bey’s “Upgrade U,” “Diva,” “Sweet Dreams” and “Pretty Hurts.” Not to mention, she’s the first-ever solo female director to win a Grammy for the aforementioned Rihanna video.
However, Matsoukas has never directed a TV series before therefore making Insecure definitely new territory for the Grammy Award-winning director. But once Matsoukas got her hands on the pilot episode, it didn’t take much to convince her to get on board.
“I read it that night and I was just like, Wow—my life on paper,” Matsoukas told Vanity Fair. “I totally relate to this girl and, you know, what she’s going through, being a black woman navigating through all these different spaces.”
And luckily, HBO wasn’t afraid to take “risks,” according to Rae, a comedian and actress, who on the other hand is somewhat of a Hollywood veteran.
Insecure comes five years after Issa Rae’s hit 2011 web series, The Mis-Adventures of an Awkward Black Girl. (The first episode boasts nearly 2 million views on YouTube at press time and was later picked up by Pharrell’s i am OTHER for Season 2.) The series followed J as she navigated through her love and work life with all the awkward situations in between as the title suggests.
Similar to Mis-Adventures, Insecure will follow the “awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American woman,” according to IMDb, with Rae taking on the main character role of Issa Dee. But instead of working for the weight loss company, Gutbusters, she’ll be with a “faux-altruistic white guilt” nonprofit company working to help kids dubbed We Got Ya’ll – a “worst nightmare” for Rae. And it’ll all be set in an area where Rae grew up — South Los Angeles.
— Issa Rae (@IssaRae) September 8, 2016
“I want to make this very clear,” said Issa Rae in an interview with Time. “This is not the quintessential black-woman experience. It’s a very specific experience.”
Insecure will join the ranks of the many series that star black leads during the summer and fall including Netflix’s Luke Cage, FX’s Atlanta (which stars and was created by Donald Glover), Netflix’s The Get Down, OWN’s Queen Sugar (co-created and directed by Selma‘s Ava Duvernay.) Not to mention, there will also be the return of other hit series including Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, Power, Empire, Rosewood, and Black-ish.
Because of this, Rae tells Time that she doesn’t feel that the pressure to create a show that’s speaking for all that is black culture. “I didn’t think, ‘This is an issue plaguing the community that I want to address,’ any more than anybody else did,” said Rae of the code-switching between different vernaculars in Insecure “What’s refreshing about this time is that because there are so many other shows with creators of color, the onus isn’t just on us. That’s a great thing.”
But while the hype for Insecure is just starting, Rae told Vanity Fair that she plans to finish off the series with a “good, finite, close-ended story.”
Watch the trailer for Insecure above.
[Photo via HBO]