June 14, 2024

Issa Rae, HBO partner for Black TV history documentary


Issa Rae has been tapped by HBO to executive produce a two-part documentary about the history of Black television.

The project, titled Seen & Heard, will explore the groundbreaking “but often unacknowledged” contributions of Black artists and storytellers, Deadline reports. 

“Black people have such a rich, but often unacknowledged history in Hollywood,” said Rae. “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.”

Read More: Issa Rae, Jordan Peele to partner for ‘Sinkhole’ film after Universal wins screen rights in 7-figure deal

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The doc is described as offering “cultural commentary about representation in black storytelling and feature interviews with actors, showrunners, writers, celebrities and other notable influencers as well as verité-driven segments and inventive use of archival material. 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.”

Seen & Heard will be directed and produced by Phil Bertelsen, who helmed Netflix’s six-part doc series Who Killed Malcolm X?

Rae will serve as EP alongside Montrel McKay of Issa Rae Productions, Jonathan Berry and David Becky of 3 Arts Entertainment and Ark Media’s Rachel Dretzin and Esther Dere.

In related news, Issa Rae and Jordan Peele are teaming up to bring, “Sinkhole,” an original story by Leyna Krow, to movie screens, theGRIO previously reported.

Sara Scott, Universal Pictures’ Senior Vice President of Production, will oversee the development of this film.

According to Deadline, Universal studios offered a low-seven-figure deal to Rae and Peele for the screen rights to the short story. The company beat out more than 10 studio bidders and multiple talent and filmmaker packages for the opportunity.

Sinkhole was originally written by Krow in 2011 and centers on a couple’s purchase of a new home that has a strange sinkhole in the backyard.

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