Issa Rae Says Hollywood Is ‘Scared, Clueless and at the Mercy of Wall Street’ and Black Stories Are ‘Less of a Priority’: ‘There Aren’t a Lot of Smart Execs Anymore’

Issa Rae has “never seen Hollywood this scared and clueless and at the mercy of Wall Street,” she recently told Time magazine during a cover interview. The “Insecure” Emmy nominee has been making the press rounds and speaking out against Hollywood for pulling back on investing in inclusive stories.

“You’re seeing so many Black shows get canceled, you’re seeing so many executives — especially on the DEI side — get canned,” she recently said in a Porter interview. “You’re seeing very clearly now that our stories are less of a priority. It’s made me take more steps to try to be independent down the line if I have to.”

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Variety reported last month that Max had canceled Rae’s comedy series “Rap Sh!t” after two seasons. Rae was an executive producer on the series and brought the show to Max under her ongoing deal with WarnerMedia, which she signed in 2021 after the success of her HBO comedy series “Insecure.” Rae told Time magazine that she’s still developing two new shows for HBO, including a project set in an “alternate present” that she plans to create, write and star in.

“There is a bitterness of just like, who suffers from you guys pulling back? People of color always do,” she told Time about Hollywood pulling back from diverse stories.

“I’m sorry, but there aren’t a lot of smart executives anymore,” Rae later added during the interview. “And a lot of them have aged out and are holding on to their positions and refusing to let young blood get in… Now these conglomerate leaders are also making the decisions about Hollywood. Y’all aren’t creative people. Stick to the money. The people that are taking chances are on platforms like TikTok: that’s what’s getting the eyeballs of the youth. So you’re killing your own industry.”

Despite industry changes, Rae said she feels “secure” in her current partnership with HBO. However, she is reevaluating the feasibility of “smaller, quieter projects” now that Hollywood studios seem to be turning their backs on them at a greater frequency.

“When you have all of these streaming services that are competing with each other, it means they’re also moving the goalposts of what success looks like and what their brand is. It’s all mush,” Rae said. “I know what my brand identity is and what I want to make. But if that doesn’t align with who’s paying me to make stuff, then that’s complex. We are malleable, but only to an extent.”

Head over to Time’s website to read Rae’s cover story in its entirety.

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