What do we want? More diversity on TV. When do we want it? Yesterday!
And writer-director-producer, Issa Rae is no stranger to exploring the “other.” Rae’s new project, Color Creative TV, which supports minority writers by showcasing their work and eventually selling it, released a few new projects recently. “Bleach” features an OCD carpet cleaner who’s forced to assist an aging hit man. “Words With Girls” explores the relationship between lesbian roommates, dating and achieving success, while “So Jaded” is a story about two 20-something Los Angeles girls who really like to get high.
Each pilot allows fans to “get this on TV” by clicking on the subsequent link and petitioning for a series. “We’re providing a unique opportunity to get your pilot made,” Rae says.
“Instead of going through the development process that can take a year, we’re getting content made within a month and exposing it to an audience to get support behind it.” It’s that support — the number of people watching and talking about a show — that pushes networks to put more people of color on-screen.
Rae distinguishes Color Creative as an inclusive program. “A lot of these diversity initiatives staff writers to a television show and pay them separately through a diversity salary,” she says. “Everyone knows they’re the affirmative action diversity hire, which is kind of embarrassing. They’re not given the respect that other staffers get.”
Additionally, Color Creative allows more creative control for the writers. The initiative intends to grow minority writers into show-runners and decision makers, a scarcity in television’s current climate.
While supportive of the current scope of black leads and minority-centered shows on network and cable, Rae predicts a future of diverse shows online. “I predict that Netflix absorbs people of color,” she says.
“I can also see a solid BET of the future online, where the content of people of color is its own network.”
Do you think Rae is on to something good?