By Jacob Sarkisian | Insider
Senegalese-American Issa Rae was nominated for three Emmy Awards at the 2020 ceremony. During last the Emmys, Issa Rae spoke about her first Hollywood pitch, in which a white producer told her what Black people want to watch.
The multi-hyphenate and four-time Emmy-nominee said that this incident “fuelled” her to bet on herself, while things didn’t end well for the producer: “And you know, one of us got fired after that.”
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Rae’s HBO show “Insecure” was nominated for eight Emmys this year, including outstanding actress in a comedy series for Rae and outstanding comedy series — although “Schitt’s Creek” won both awards.
During last night’s Emmy Awards ceremony, Issa Rae spoke about her first TV pitch in which a white producer told her what Black people want to watch on television.
Rae, who was nominated for three Emmys at the ceremony for her HBO show “Insecure,” recalled the “unofficial” pitch and said that the producer saw one of her web series.
“He was like, ‘Yeah, it’s about this Black woman and her Black woman problems, hilarious’ and I was like, ‘That’s not what it’s about, but okay.’
“He was like, ‘Yeah but, you know the Black audience want to see familiar faces so you might need to switch up the characters.'”
Rae said: “I remind you this is an executive who is not Black telling me what Black people like. It just became very clear to me that he didn’t get the show and I remember just fuming in that meeting like why does he get to tell me what gets to be on TV? Why does he get to tell me what people like me like to see? I’m here, I’m telling you what I want to see! I made it.”
Rae found a lot of success with her web series, particularly with “Awkward Black Girl,” which premiered on YouTube in 2011. It was her award-winning success on this show, as well as “Ratchet Piece Theater” and “The Choir,” that led to her first television show being created — “Insecure,” which earned eight Emmy nominations in total at last night’s ceremony.
Issa Rae is a four-time Emmy-nominee, with three nominations for her HBO show “Insecure.” HBO Enterprises/Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Rae created the show with Larry Wilmore for HBO, and also stars in and writes the series, too.
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To date, she has received three Emmy nominations for the show. She earned her first Emmy nod, for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series, in 2018, and was nominated three times at last night’s ceremony — for best comedy series and again for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series.
She lost both awards to Schitt’s Creek” (Catherine O’Hara won outstanding comedy actress), while her third nomination of last night was for outstanding variety sketch series for “A Black Lady Sketch Show.”
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Rae, who is also a two-time Golden Globe nominee, said that this experience with the white producer didn’t hinder her, rather, it spurred her on to achieve the success she now has.
“That moment was the motivation I needed to keep doing what I was doing, to kind of bet on myself,” Rae said. “And that fuelled me, like, ‘Oh okay I’ll show you.’ And, you know, one of us got fired after that.”
Watch the full video below:
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