Loving the attention
THE response to Season One of Issa Rae’s (pic) HBO series, Insecure, was so strong, particularly on social media, that countless (and hilarious) memes were created about the star characters, and the show’s male fans rallied behind the male lead after he had been cheated on.
It sparked the age-old debate about male and female relationships.
And Rae loves the attention.
“It just felt like the fruits of our labour being celebrated in a way that we didn’t even anticipate,” said Rae, the show’s creator, writer and star. “It just made us, if anything, more geeked to tell stories in Season Two.”
But Rae added that she didn’t let the fans and commentators influence them as they began writing and filming the new episodes.
“We were also not taking anybody’s feedback or storylines into account, because they would have had Issa out here pregnant and baby mama drama, so, no,” she said, smiling.
Life has been busy for 32-yearold Rae, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Issa Dee in the series. In the new eight-episode season, she’s trying to move on after cheating on Lawrence, played by Jay Ellis.
What was it like going back into the writer’s room?
The day after the finale we were back in the writer’s room, so we were so (expletive) excited ... It was actually a writer’s retreat. We were mad excited and sharing the memes.
So many of the show’s male fans dogged your character when you cheated, and they rallied behind Jay Ellis’ character. What did you think of that?
I was talking about how initially when the show started, I got a lot of criticism from black men who were assuming we were tearing down (black men) because of the Lawrence character.
They were like, “Another deadbeat black dude. Here y’all go, black women.”
And then to see them at the end of the season just like really behind him was, “OK, I told you.” Give stuff a chance. And we weren’t pandering to men, by any means. This is not a show created for men, but it’s cool that they identify with it.
Do you feel there’s a double standard when it comes to cheating?
It’s almost like (women are) expected to deal with it. And it’s such a betrayal when a woman cheats on a man in a man’s eyes ... You cannot be forgiven.
People were surprised to when you didn’t earn an Emmy nomination this year. Did you expect to get nominated?
For me I try not to think about it and it’s a pleasant surprise. For this particular time, because it timed so well with season two, I was like, “Oh (a nomination) would have been so dope for the promo for the (new) season,” but then I was over it.
What’s it been like seeing your show become such a success?
It’s rewarding that people have taken these characters into their homes and it feels like we’re dispelling all the years when people were like, “This show won’t have an audience. Like, it won’t do well.”
Props to HBO for seeing the vision and trusting us to tell our own stories. And I feel like there’s a difference when we get to tell our stories and you have so many people of colour involved, it just feels more authentic and rooted, and I think people recognise that, of all colours. – AP