Issa Rae Is Producing a Comedy Series Based on a Podcast About Well-Meaning White Folks and School Integration

Issa Rae of ‘Insecure’ appears onstage during the HBO segment of the 2020 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour on January 15, 2020.
Issa Rae of ‘Insecure’ appears onstage during the HBO segment of the 2020 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour on January 15, 2020.
Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for WarnerMedia (Getty Images)

Issa Rae is continuing her “No Sleep” tour and has another project in the works!

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According to Variety, Issa has teamed up with writer-director-producer Adam McKay to produce a half-hour comedy series for HBO, adapted from the Serial Productions podcast Nice White Parents. Issa will executive produce with Montrel McKay under her new production company HooRae and Adam will executive produce with Todd Schulman, via Hyperobject Industries.

Here’s the breakdown, via Variety:

The project has received a pilot commitment at the premium cabler. The show is described as a satirical look at the conflict and comedy that arise when highly resourced white parents, who claim to have the best intentions, wield their influence over generations of Black and brown students within the NY public school system.

Nice White Parents is a five-part podcast that launched in July 2020 with the tagline, “If you want to understand what’s wrong with our public schools, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: white parents.”

Oop.

In regards to the podcast, Mashable’s Jess Joho offered more insight:

This American Life producer Chana Joffe-Walt tells the story through an on-the-ground investigation into the School for International Studies (SIS), a New York City public school that was predominantly serving students of color. That is, until a flood of white parents who couldn’t get their kids into preferred white schools instead decided to enroll them there, causing it to become a battleground of racial tensions and inequalities. It’s a story that comes from a personal place for Joffe-Walt. She began reporting on it after shopping around for schools as a new parent herself, only to discover she was part of a larger history of white parents who have shaped our public school education system into what it is today — which is to say, a system that overwhelming and repeatedly fails students of color.

In addition to the insincerity of privileged white people wishing for truly diverse schools, there have been personal anecdotes and data suggesting that desegregation—at least the way it is currently implemented—isn’t so much helping Black students...it’s harming them.

As Daisy M. Jenkins wrote at The Root in 2014:

The reality is that Black families faced heavier burdens with the desegregation mandate than whites. Black children spent more time commuting, Black schools were closed to make desegregation more convenient for whites (and to prevent their flight to the suburbs or private schools), and Black teachers and principals were fired when white and Black schools were merged. Estimates show that more than 82,000 Black teachers provided instruction to a Black student population numbering around 2 million in 1954. Within a span of 10 years, around 40,000 Black teachers lost their jobs. Ninety percent of Black principals lost their jobs in 11 Southern states.

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So, like many smart comedies, this upcoming series should have some real meaty material to explore. As for the status of the developing series, the team is currently looking for a showrunner, so get your resumes ready!

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

DISCUSSION

theroo
Rooo sez BISH PLZ

Listened to that podcast; had to take frequent breaks.

Will watch for this.