Issa Rae on Importance of Black Female Friendships: They’re Essential to My Life

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Issa Rae’s “Insecure” has struck a chord with fans. (Jason LaVeris /FilmMagic/Getty Images)

Catfights and hair pulling are staples of present-day TV shows with Black women as the protagonists, but Issa Rae’s award-winning HBO series “Insecure” doesn’t feature such moments.

That’s something the creator takes pride in.

“I think for such a long time, I just was not seeing great Black female friendships on television,” Rae told Deadline at Contenders Emmys Sunday, April 9. “It was constantly about tearing one another down or throwing shade. There are elements of that, but for the most part, Black women are essential to my life.”

“Insecure” follows Rae’s character, Issa, as she navigates relationships with her best friend Molly, her co-workers and her now-ex-boyfriend. Throughout the season, many praised the positive onscreen portrayal of friendship between 20-something Black women.

Another thing Rae wanted to keep positive was the way Los Angeles was represented on TV.

“I knew that I wanted to have a show set in L.A,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to highlight specific parts of L.A. that I hadn’t seen demonstrated in the most positive light in the last couple of years. And I wanted to make South L.A. sexy.”

As for what’s coming in season two,  which premieres Sunday, July 23, Rae says it picks up right where viewers found the characters last year.

“We’re exploring just what it looks like when everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” she said. “When you’re single, what are you supposed to be doing? When someone tells you, ‘You need therapy,’ what are you supposed to be doing? Without giving too much away, I always tell people to imagine, if your friends had been in the scenarios at the end of season one, what would they do or what would you do? That’s probably how season two will play out.”

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