Lov­ing the at­ten­tion

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Tv - By MESFIN FEKADU

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

Photo: AP

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