Issa Rae Producing HBO Documentary About History of Black Television

Issa Rae for Seen & Heard. HBO

The history of Black television will be captured and reexamined in the upcoming two-part documentary Seen & Heard, executive produced by Issa Rae. Currently in production, the film will feature interviews and commentary about representation and storytelling by actors, showrunners, writers, celebrities and other influencers. 

According to HBO, “the featured participants will reflect on their own experiences watching African Americans represented on television yesterday and today, while sharing insights into their current creative endeavors, personal experiences, and inspiration, providing a window into the larger evolution of Black storytellers across television history.”  

“Black people have such a rich, but often unacknowledged history in Hollywood,” Rae said in a statement. “We have defined American culture and influenced generations time and time again across the globe. I’m honored to pair with Ark Media to center and celebrate the achievements of those who paved a way for so many of us to tell our stories on television.”

In addition to Rae and Ark Media, the documentary will be produced and directed by Phil Bertelsen (Who Killed Malcolm X?).

The news comes just over a week after Rae was finally recognized by the Television Academy in a big way, with three nominations for the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Insecure and Outstanding Sketch Variety Series for A Black Lady Sketch Show.

The latter is co-executive produced by Rae and creator Robin Thede and earned a total of three nominations, while Insecuregarnered eight.


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