Issa Rae Of HBO’s ‘Insecure’ Talks First-Draft Raps and Struggle Mode

Issa Rae Of HBO’s ‘Insecure’ Talks First-Draft Raps and Struggle Mode

WBEZ brings you fact-based news and information. Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on the stories that matter.

Look at the list of any TV critic’s anticipated fall shows and you’re likely to find HBO’s Insecure. The new comedy follows 29-year-old Issa Rae as she navigates life, work and romance, all while trying to break her “aggressively passive” attitude. In real life, writer and actress Issa Rae is more deliberate with her own career path. 

“This character is me if I didn’t know what I wanted to do and if I had made different decisions. I’ve always, for the most part, known what I wanted to do. I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer.” 

After achieving success with her web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” Rae set out to conquer the small screen. But the road between the two series was bumpy at times. Rae told Morning Shift she signed on to work with HBO and met executive producer Larry Wilmore, who helped her become more confident in her voice.

“He’s such a confident storyteller. And he really was like ‘if you don’t have a foundation, if you don’t know what story you’re trying to tell, if your not confident in that yourself…your house will just fall over.’” 

One story Rae was determined to tell was that positive friendships with other black women have made a big difference for her. 

“In real life, black women are the most important women in my life. Mainstream media and a lot of reality television doesn’t depict female friendship in that way currently. There’s a lot of fighting, backstabbing, and conniving. That’s just not my relationship and that’s just not what I know to be true about the black women in my life.”

When Rae was in the process of making Insecure, she knew it would be a love letter to black women. But don’t count on her to feel pressured to represent all black voices. 

“If people don’t enjoy our show there’s other options to choose from. I feel like this era, this renaissance of television of color, is going to birth other stories. I’m not concerned.” 

Rae’s own contribution to that renaissance, Insecure, premieres Oct. 9 on HBO.