Issa Rae Was Told to Add More White Characters to Her Shows

Issa Rae Was Told to Add More White Characters to Her Shows

Issa Rae isn't changing her craft to make "white people care" about her shows.

In a recent interview with Mic, the star recalled some "advice" given to her by a colleague working on her 2011 web series, Awkward Black Girl, about adding white characters to get people interested in her shows.

"From the jump in creating the show, it was put in my mind that you had to have a White character to be a bridge, and for people to care, for it to get awards, for it to be considered worthy of the television canon," Rae said, before recounting what her colleague said.

"Girl, if you want this shit to set off to the next level, you got to put a White character in there," Rae remembered. "Then White people will care about it, then NPR is going to write about your shit, and it'll blow up."

However, all of this led Rae to write in a white love interest for Awkward Black Girl which, eventually, bled into early seasons of Insecure via the protagonist's white co-worker, Freida.

After a while though, Rae said she began "actively resisting" the instinct to add more white characters and even decided to keep the entire cast Black once Frieda quit her job.

"I was like, 'Fuck no! This is not a show about Freida!,'" she said. "I realized, 'Oh my gosh, our show is just about Black characters now in the most refreshing way.'"

She added, "I hope that not having to think of an audience that isn't us — and being okay with that — is passed on. I want people to know we are enough."

Read Mic's full interview here.

Photo via Getty / Rich Polk