Issa Rae told to add White characters to her show so people would ‘care’

Issa Rae is reflecting
Issa Rae (Photo by Image Press Agency via Bang Media)

Issa Rae recently reflected on her journey to becoming the renowned actress, writer and producer that she is today.

As the October cover star for Mic Magazine, the multi-hyphenate creator revealed that when she was launching her YouTube series “Awkward Black Girl,” in 2011, a former colleague advised her to ensure that there is always a White character in her shows so the masses and media would care about them.


“From the jump in creating the show, it was put in my mind that you had to have a White character to be a bridge, and for people to care, for it to get awards, for it to be considered worthy of the television canon,” said Rae.

According to Rae, White Jay, one of the main love interests in her web series, was written into the script because of the advice she received.


“She was just like, ‘Girl, if you want this s— to set off to the next level, you got to put a White character in there, then White people will care about it, then NPR is going to write about your s—, and it’ll blow up.’ And then it literally happened,” Rae recalled.

As she began to develop the iconic television series “Insecure,” she kept this same line of thinking, adding her We Got Y’all coworker Frieda to the first three seasons of the show.

At that point, Rae began “actively resisting” that concept as she realized that it didn’t align with her vision.

“When Issa quit work and we got rid of the We Got Y’all storyline, I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, our show is just about Black characters now in the most refreshing way,’ ” she said. “I want people to know we are enough.”

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