Issa Rae, the creator and star of Insecure, is busy building an HBO empire, one show at a time.
Shortly after the second season of Rae’s beloved comedy came to a close this fall, it was reported that the writer was changing gears to begin work on a drama series. The project, which has since been revealed to be titled Sweet Life, is being written and executive produced by Angela Flournoy, a National Book Award finalist and author of The Turner House. Rae will also serve as an executive producer for the show, which is reportedly about a Black family living — and struggling — in Los Angeles during the early 1990s. According to a recent Deadline article, HBO has officially picked up Sweet Life, and Raamla Mohamed, a producer on ABC's Scandal, is confirmed as the show's co-creator, alongside Rae.
As if getting a single new television show from Rae wasn't exciting enough, yesterday, Deadline also reported that she has been developing another comedy for HBO called Him Or Her. According to Deadline, Him Or Her will follow "the dating life of a bisexual black man and the distinctly different worlds and relationships he finds himself in." Rae will executive produce this half-hour comedy with Travon Free, a writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Yesterday, Free excitedly shared that HBO has picked up the show in a Twitter post.
Issa Rae, who will soon have three HBO shows, has come a long way from her 2012 YouTube series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. However, it seems that with all her premium cable shows, she's still driven by the vision of showing the world there can be diversity in Black characters. Last October Rae talked to Refinery29 about her first HBO show Insecure, saying, "I just want it to feel like it’s normalized regular Blackness. That people will look at it and be like oh, this was part of the start of diversifying Blackness without it constantly dealing with crazy drama or racial strife. Insecure is just a slice of life. It's just Blackness, told in a regular way."
With Rae involved, there's no doubt these new series will show diverse but normal Black lives, and we're excited to see HBO continuing to support Rae's vision. It's about time a woman of her talent is recognized and given the chance to spearhead projects. When women like Rae are at the helm of creating content, more diverse stories are told and empires that we can actually get behind are built.