Issa Rae admits that her first TV experience (at a broadcast network) didn’t go so well — but at HBO, she’s found her “Cinderella story.”
“That journey was definitely not overnight,” she said while speaking before the inaugural IndieWire Honors. “It was years in the making but [it’s gratifying] to be recognized for something I think had such a strong indie sensibility and to be able to do that for a larger network.”
Rae, who was awarded the Vanguard Award for her success in creating and starring in “Insecure” for HBO, created her first YouTube video in 2006 and her first web series in 2007. That evolved to “Awkward Black Girl,” the web series that put Rae on the map and eventually led to her deal with HBO.
“I maintained from the beginning, if I were to do a version of ‘Awkward Black Girl’ for television I didn’t want to take it to [broadcast] network because of the language being colorful, because the Internet is so raw and authentic you get to have your work out there unfiltered,” she said. “So I wrote early on, oddly enough, that if I ever took a version of ‘Angry Black Girl’ to television I wanted it to be HBO.”
A third season of “Insecure” is now in the works, and Rae is again partnering with HBO for her next project: a drama set in 1990s Los Angeles. Rae is executive producing with “The Turner House” author Angela Flournoy. (She also recently shot the film “The Hate U Give.”)
“I’m at this point where I’m working a lot,” Rae said. “It’s just about trying to fine tune what I really want to do, what my next big project is going to be, and I’m happy to say I’ve figured that out. Once you get your moment and get this wave, you just want to continue to ride it until it’s over. Hopefully that won’t be anytime soon.”
Watch Rae’s video interview from the IndieWire Honors couch below:
IndieWire Honors is presented by Vizio and DTS with premier support from Harold Ramis Film School at The Second City.