Issa Rae is just like the rest of us, displeased with the onslaught of Black TV shows getting unceremoniously canceled.

75th Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

Source: Frazer Harrison / Getty

After being asked about the current television landscape, the multi-hyphenate told PORTER Magazine that it’s “obvious that our stories are less of a priority.”

“It’s made me take more steps to try to be independent down the line if I have to,” said Issa whose own show Rap Sh!t was inexcusably canned.

In a wide-ranging interview with author/journalist Otegha Uwagba, Issa Rae spoke on numerous topics including not only cancelations, but her work in American Fiction which is now Oscar nominated for Best Picture.

Issa Rae Talks American Fiction

In it, Issa, 39, plays a bestselling author named Sintara Golden. Issa told PORTER that she relates to her character’s antagonist, fellow novelist Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, played by Jeffrey Wright.

Monk believes Golden is poisoning the community by profiting off of harmful Black stereotypes and Rae remembers feeling that same way in her YouTube beginnings.

“I found [the script] so relatable, so funny, so perfectly satirical,” said the Hoorae creator. “Because I’ve been Monk, and I remember in the Awkward Black Girl days – and even prior to that – feeling so enraged about what wasn’t being made, and being mad at who was in the spotlight at the time because I was like, ‘I know we’re so much more than what’s being presented here.’ I recognize that hunger, of just wanting your work to be seen and attacking the wrong targets.”


Still, Issa told PORTER that she has sympathy for Sinatra who’s made to be a sell-out in American Fiction because she felt forced to pander to white biases to get ahead.

“I completely understand it and I agree with [Sintara’s] point that [Monk’s] ire should be directed towards the white audiences that put very specific work about Black people on this pedestal, as opposed to more diverse representations of Blackness,” said Issa.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that many white audiences and critics tend to reward traumatizing depictions or their own biased perceptions of what Blackness is. It’s frustrating.”

Also frustrating for the entrepreneur is the current TV landscape that’s currently changing as we see fewer Black stories being greenlit.

Issa Rae Speaks On Black TV Show Cancellations


Writer Otegha Uwagba pointed out that Issa’s expressed concern about how industry changes like streaming services, and the influence of “profit-chasing” Wall Street investors could be at work, and Issa doubled down on her worries.

“It’s already happening,”she told PORTER. “You’re seeing so many Black shows get cancelled, you’re seeing so many executives – especially on the DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] side – get canned. You’re seeing very clearly now that our stories are less of a priority.”

She continued and noted that she’s taken steps to ensure she can create projects more independently if need be.

“I am pessimistic, because there’s no one holding anybody accountable – and I can, sure, but also at what cost? I can’t force you to make my stuff. It’s made me take more steps to try to be independent down the line if I have to.”

In case need a refresher, Black shows



Ultimately, Issa told PORTER that she sees a life of service in her future as she works as a philanthropist.

“This is fun,” she said referring to her Hollywood career, “but at some point, it’ll feel like not enough – and I want to be able to do more.”

What do YOU think about the onslaught of Black TV show cancellations?


Bossip Comment Policy
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.