Issa Rae isn’t mincing words when it comes to her take on the entertainment industry’s recent changes. The cancellation of her TV series “Rap Sh!t” by Warner Bros. Discovery has fueled her frustration, highlighting what she sees as a shift away from creativity and inclusion in Hollywood.
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“You’re seeing so many Black shows get canceled, you’re seeing so many executives — especially on the DEI side — get canned. You’re seeing very clearly now that our stories are less of a priority,” Rae said. “It’s made me take more steps to try to be independent down the line if I have to.”
Looking back on the challenges faced during the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes and the cancellation of “Rap Sh!t,” Rae emphasizes the impact of financial considerations on decision-making in the industry.
“I’ve never seen Hollywood this scared and clueless, and at the mercy of Wall Street,” Rae said. “I’m sorry, but there aren’t a lot of smart executives anymore. And a lot of them have aged out and are holding on to their positions and refusing to let young blood get in.”
Despite these setbacks, Rae remains resilient and has ambitious plans for 2024. Actively developing two new projects for HBO and working on establishing a studio campus in South L.A., she is determined to forge ahead. However, the lessons learned from recent experiences linger, especially regarding the perceived shift in priorities.
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In Rae’s view, the landscape has changed, and conglomerate leaders, who may lack a background in creativity, are now influencing creative decisions. She urges them to focus on their financial expertise rather than interfering with the creative process.
“Now these conglomerate leaders are also making the decisions about Hollywood. Y’all aren’t creative people. Stick to the money,” she said. “The people that are taking chances are on platforms like TikTok: That’s what’s getting the eyeballs of the youth. So you’re killing your own industry.”
While currently under a five-year deal with HBO, Rae is exploring alternative opportunities for the future, considering independence if necessary. She perceives a decline in priority for Black stories in the industry, prompting her to take proactive steps toward independence.
Issa Rae Criticizes Hollywood For Falling Short On Diversity And Inclusion Commitments
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