Issa Rae: ‘I’ve Never Seen Hollywood This Scared and Clueless’

Issa Rae is calling out Hollywood for being “scared” of pioneering creatives.

The “Insecure” showrunner and “American Fiction” and “Barbie” actress told Time magazine that projects are seemingly only being greenlit for maximum profits and not artistry.

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“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.”

Rae continued, “Now these conglomerate leaders are also making the decisions about Hollywood. Y’all aren’t creative people. Stick to the money. 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.”

Rae, who has an overall deal with WarnerMedia through 2026, added, “When you have all of these streaming services that are competing with each other, it means they’re also moving the goalposts of what success looks like and what their brand is. It’s all mush. I know what my brand identity is and what I want to make. But if that doesn’t align with who’s paying me to make stuff, then that’s complex. We are malleable, but only to an extent.”

The “Awkward Black Girl” creator called it an “ugly” process that only the most monetarily successful producers can enact the most change.

“I recognize that I have to do well economically to be able to make change,” Rae said. “That’s frustrating, that’s ugly. But I recognize that money moves things faster — and so much of what I do is with the intention to help make those moves.”

She added of conglomerates canceling projects with diverse filmmakers, “There is a bitterness of just like, who suffers from you guys pulling back? People of color always do.”

Rae recently told Net-a-Porter that the cancellation of “so many Black shows” leads to “so many executives — especially on the DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion] side” getting fired.

“You’re seeing very clearly now that our stories are less of a priority,” Rae said. “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.”

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