Sunday, September 25, 2022

Issa Rae Brings New HBO Max Series ‘Rap Sh!t’ to ABFF

issa rea
Issa Rae / Getty

*Issa Rae shot the new HBO Max comedy series “Rap Sh!t” in Miami and she returned to the city for its premiere as part of the 2022 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) lineup. 

“Coming to ABFF, and these memories that I have here, are what honestly inspired me to set the show in Miami. It really is a full-circle moment that this is debuting here.” Rae told Variety at Wednesday night’s opening ceremony at the New World Center performance hall in Miami Beach.

“To have Jeff and Nicole [Friday, the founder and president of ABFF, respectively] champion the show, and me to be an ambassador here, feels really official,” she added.

We reported previously that “Rap Sh*t” hails from Issa Rae, writer Syreeta Singleton and City Girls hip-hop duo Yung Miami and JT, who inspired the project. The half-hour comedy follows two estranged high school friends Shawna (Aida Osman) and Mia (KaMillion), who reunite to form a rap group.

READ MORE: HBO Max Drops Teaser Trailer for Issa Rae’s New Comedy ‘Rap Sh!t’ | WATCH

“I think this is just such a unique time in hip-hop, especially when it comes to female rappers, because there’s such an abundance, and it doesn’t feel like they’re all in competition with each other,” Issa previously said about the series to Harper’s Bazaar. “I’m a child of the ’90s, and there used to always be a tendency to put two women against one another. It feels like we’re in an era where there’s such a supportive environment now because of that abundance. All of that, combined with just my own story of coming up, became the next story that I wanted to tell.”

Rae serves as executive producer with Yung Miami and JT co-producing. Rae’s audio content company Raedio will handle music supervision for the series, Deadline reports.

“There’s no other festival highlighting us in this way, highlighting our film, highlighting our television shows, and it’s in an elegant way,” Rae said of ABFF. “That’s what I admire so much about this particular festival — it’s so intentional. Even thinking about the awards that they do later, ABFF as a brand is so solid, and I feel proud of having my work showcased here.”

Speaking before a packed audience at the festival this week, Rae recalled her first outing to ABBF more than a decade ago. 

“Ten years later, my colleagues and I still talk about that first ABFF trip, to this day, and that legendary time that we had here in Miami,” Rae said. “Since that time, I’ve screened my series ‘Insecure’ here, that Regina (King) came and directed an episode. And I haven’t collaborated with Ryan (Coogler) yet, but he’s been so supportive of me and my work. And watching ‘Creed’ and ‘Black Panther,’ I always flash back to how inspired I was listening to him in that panel right here.”

Rae thanked the ABFF team for “creating a space for creatives like me to meet my potential collaborators, my inspirations, and a supportive space for me to showcase my work.”

“Rap Sh!t” is set to premiere July 21 on HBO Max.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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