Issa Rae On Possibly Making History W/ An Emmy Win: Awards Don’t Validate You + Says COVID-19 Helped ‘Insecure’ Ratings
“Insecure” creator and star Issa Rae could potentially make history at the 2020 Emmys, but it seems as if her focus at the moment is on how her success will make room for others. She said during a recent interview:
“My longevity will be opening the door for others.”
The show’s recent 4th season brought in 4.5 million viewers per episode, and Issa Rae says that she and the show’s showrunner Prentice Penny talked about how the series is staying true to Black culture in Los Angeles.
“That’s something Prentice and I talked about— that White people get to have scenes with them just washing their hands and thinking. We don’t get that sh*t.”
The season garnered so much attention that it is currently up for eight Emmys Awards, including two personal nominations for Issa Rae, one for the coveted Lead Actress category. If Issa Rae wins, she will be the second Black woman to take home the Emmy in the category since Isabel Sanford for The Jeffersons in 1981. If Insecure wins in the comedy series, Issa Rae will be the first Black female creator of a premium cable show to receive the award. Even with the potential for history to be made, Issa Rae said,
“Awards don’t validate you, they allow more people to know about the series, like, ‘Oh, what is this?’ That’s all you want.”
Issa Rae then spoke on the COVID-19 pandemic helping the ratings for the popular season.
“I’m going to be real. I think the pandemic, being quarantined during a period when our humanity was questioned, in a more front-facing way, definitely helped. We came on during a time when people were bored at home, and also there were racial uprisings, and our show served as a comfort.”
“Thank God, because to release anything else during this time — even our show — I felt a huge guilt in coming out during the protests because there were just so many more important things happening, I didn’t want to take full focus away from that. But to hear people be like, ‘No, this is an escape. It brings us back to Black people being joyous and happy and ourselves’ — our natural state really felt like we were meant to air during this time. I think that for sure helped people to see our show in a different light.”
Issa Rae added that the next season was supposed to start filming in September, but due to the coronavirus, it will be later. She also gave details on how the creators are planning to acknowledge the pandemic in upcoming episodes.
“I don’t want to mention COVID or the pandemic in any way, shape or form. We are addressing the fact that the city is going to be different, and part of the way that we’re talking about it is putting people with masks in the background or subtle things like the business being impacted because we’re so location-specific. We’re supposed to shoot in September, so that’s not happening. It changes every single day. It’s definitely a painful reminder that you don’t control your plans.”
As for whether she’ll charge more if she wins an Emmy, she said:
“We’ll find out. I mean, I’ve definitely demanded. Yvonne [Orji] joked before the Emmy nominations came out, “Girl, I told all my agents, ‘Don’t make no deals until after Tuesday or Monday…because our price is going up or down.'” So there is something to that, too, of just realizing your worth. Also, seeing how little these white people care about asking for more than they’re worth in many cases. You can’t be polite, or tiptoe, or be modest about those things. You’re seeing these 9-10-figure deals out there. I have a great team that also is not afraid to ask for beyond my worth. I have an amazing Black lawyer who is constantly being like, ‘No, I’m going to get you better.’ Or, ‘No, I’m going to make sure. I heard that so-and-so made this, you’re about to make this.'”
When it comes to her personal life, in March of 2019 reports swirled that Issa Rae was engaged after she posted a video wearing a diamond ring. She addressed why she doesn’t like being a hot topic if it’s not about work.
“I guess because it’s private. Whose business is it? I realized I just don’t like to be the subject of conversations if it doesn’t have to do with my work. I’ve always been like that, where I’d be dating someone and my friends would find out six months later. Like, ‘B*tch, what the f**k? Why don’t we know this?’ So it’s just always been that I want to vet situations for myself. I really value that part of my life a lot.”
Issa has yet to confirm or deny engagement reports.
What are your thoughts on Issa Rae’s perception of winning an Emmy Award? Let us know in the comments.