Bust out your denim overalls and oversized multicolored sweaters, because Issa Rae is bringing the '90s back! First reported by Deadline, the Golden Globe nominee is in the works with HBO to develop a drama set in 1990s LA.
For many of us, we look at the '90s as the golden age of black representation in TV. With shows like Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Moesha, '90s sitcoms challenged the stereotypes placed against black communities. By having characters who were students, professors, lawyers, doctors, etc., these shows were able to represent black people as they truly are, just people.
Rae is working with The Turner House author, and National Book Award finalist, Angela Flournoy who will write and executive produce the project. Rae tells Deadline, “I’m so thrilled to be working with Angela. I was a huge fan of The Turner House and we feel so lucky to bring her beautiful storytelling to HBO.”
The series will center around an African-American family dealing with the turmoils of the era between the end of the Reagan administration and the early years of the Clintons. The drama focuses on the married couple Sheryl and Jackson. Sheryl, an envelope bounds-pushing real estate agent and Jackson, a conflicted LAPD officer recruited to the anti-gang task force. In the potential series, the couple will also have a teenage daughter, Ebony, and son, Les.
Unsurprisingly, the recent wave of '90s TV reboots has lacked a serious amount of, well, color. Shows like Full House, X-Files, Twin Peaks, and Magic School Bus have been widely celebrated online for their upcoming or previous comebacks. But black audiences have been mostly cut out of the celebrations. Where’s my Sister Sister reboot?
Recently, Hollywood has disproved its own lie that films and shows about people of color “don’t work.” The Oscar award winning film Moonlight, earned over $56.1 million worldwide in box office sales. Did I mention they won a freaking Oscar?! Of course, it’s more than just Moonlight. Both Aziz Ansari and Donald Glover won Emmy’s for their series’ Master of None and Atlanta. The three-time Oscar nominated film, Hidden Figures, generated over $215 million worldwide with its majority black cast.
A notable moment where a black film actively beat out a “traditional” (white) Hollywood film was the case of Girls Trip vs. Rough Night. Both films had essentially the same plot: a group of women get together for a weekend/night and have a crazy and hilarious time. Even with big time movie star Scarlett Johansson and Broad City’s Ilana Glazer, Rough Night's box office sales fell just under $45 million worldwide. Girls Trip’s cast of Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish brought in a whopping $115.1 million in worldwide sales. Basically, we got the receipts Hollywood. Wus good?
With more and more black directors and writers coming in Hollywood, we may finally see a real turnaround for black representation in TV and film. Directors and writers like Ava DuVernay, Jordan Peele, Donald Glover, and of course Issa Rae, are making more strides in ending black stereotypes in Hollywood than any others before them.
On Monday, Rae tweeted how she was “So happy to help bring this new project to life.”
Images via Insecure, Giphy, & Angela Flournoy
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Lianna Remigio is a twenty-year-old Editorial Intern at BUST and studies communications at City College in Harlem, currently living in the Bronx. You can find her on twitter @lillypads_ tweeting out dank memes and political news. In her free time, Lianna is a writer of short stories and essays as well as poems. Originally from Rockland County, her music taste can be described as a cross between a sad suburban, indie kid and a 30-year-old Bronxite. Tune in to WHCR 90.3 FM Mondays from 3 PM to 4PM to hear her talk about trending topics on "The Grey Area".