Best News: Issa Rae Is Coming To HBO

by Alanna Bennett

There are no dearth of hilarious and insightful women of color out there, but, sadly, you wouldn't know it by turning on the television. So Deadline's report that Awkward Black Girl creator Issa Rae struck a pilot deal with HBO has me psyched the whole wide HBO-watchin' world. Her breakout from indie darling to household name's been a long time coming, and I'm thrilled that it'll come via a network with as much prestige as HBO.

This is hardly the first we've heard of a TV series by Issa Rae, but it is the first confirmation that a pilot will be shot — and, if all goes well, given as a gift to the rest of TV-watchin' humanity.

The series in question is called Insecure, and it has been co-created by Rae and The Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore. It'll cover similar themes as Rae's Misadventures Of An Awkward Black Girl, namely, as Deadline put it, "the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern day African-American woman." As a deeply awkward black girl myself, I can't help but be thrilled to see that particular milieu brought to HBO — we've got a number of great shows featuring far-from-perfect, definitely-awkward young women on the air already, but it's a niche that, like many, is still blindingly white.

And HBO in particular is a network strongly in need of some more voices, particularly some more voices from women and people of color. As Mo Ryan wrote last March:

With one exception over the course of four decades, HBO has not aired an original one-hour drama series created by a woman.

With one exception over the course of four decades, HBO has not aired an original one-hour drama or dramatic miniseries creatively led at its debut by a person of color. That exception is more than 21 years old (see below for more details).

Just under 8 percent of HBO's original dramas and miniseries came from women, and 2.6 percent came from people of color. Less than 5 percent of its one-hour dramas -- one of the most high-profile entertainment products in the world -- were created by women. That's over the course of nearly 40 years.

Ryan was speaking particularly about the lack of female and PoC voices in drama, but it's clear in comedy, too, in HBO and beyond — I love me some Broad City and Girls, but we need some more color up in here, and some acknowledgement that young women of color also go through these hilarious experiences while grappling with themselves and their world.

And besides the need for more voices like hers (and a wider variety of voices in general), Rae's just been kicking ass for so long that it feels criminal that she's not a household name yet. Rae's been doing her thing — and doing it damn well — for a while now. But just like it took Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer's (fantastic) Broad City a few years to make the move from web series to TV show, it's worth the wait. And it's gonna be great. Pardon the rhyme.

I mean, the woman's already collaborated with Shonda Rhimes. That's the sign of a winner if I ever saw one.