In an interview with MIC, Rae discussed the lack of diversity in film and television, along with a conversation about a colleague’s advice. The person said that adding a white character to her web series would garner more attention from white audiences, and the media in general. So, she included White Jay as one of her love interests in Awkward Black Girl.
“She was just like, ‘Girl, if you want this sh-t to set off to the next level, you got to put a white character in there, then white people will care about it, then NPR is going to write about your sh-t, and it’ll blow up,’” Rae told MIC. “And then it literally happened.”
When developing her HBO comedy series Insecure in 2013, she again took that advice. The show’s first three seasons featured Frieda, Issa’s white co-worker at her non-profit job. As the popularity of Insecure grew, the show’s development team had to come to a decision whether or not they would keep Frieda’s character in future seasons.
“This is not a show about Frieda!’” Rae said in the interview. “That was when I started actively resisting. When Issa quit work and we got rid of the ‘We Got Y’all’ storyline, I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, our show is just about Black characters now in the most refreshing way.’”
The creative freedom that Rae and the showrunner Prentice Penny have on Insecure has allowed them to tell the full truth when it comes to Black stories, and never to compromise during the creative process.
“I hope that not having to think of an audience that isn’t us—and being okay with that—is passed on.” Rae stated. “I want people to know we are enough.”
Earlier this year, Rae signed a five-year contract with HBO’s parent company WarnerMedia, to produce news shows and films.
The fifth and final season of Insecure will premiere on Oct. 24 at 10 p.m. on HBO and HBO Max.