After having already established herself in the scripted world, Issa Rae embarks on her next adventure: reality TV.
The Unsafe co-creator and star is executive producer of new HBO series Max Sweet Life: Los Angeles, which follows a group of 20-year-old Blacks navigating love, friendships and careers in South LA She and her production team Hoorae have sought to make an updated version of the BET reality show Baldwin Hills, which ran from 2007 to 2009, while also drawing inspiration from a few other classic series as a self-proclaimed âdocuseries and reality TV enthusiastâ.
” I am fan of Vanderpump Rules; I like The hills, I grew up on The hills“said Rae THR at a premiere night in Los Angeles for the show on Wednesday. “Early Vanderpump Rules when they were just people working in a restaurant, trying to figure out things and the inner workings of their social relationships. And The hills, of course, it was a coming-of-age story with amazing production value and amazing music. It was like an opportunity to do the same.
Filmed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the series features actors – new friends and others who have known each other since childhood – from Ladera Heights, Inglewood and Watts. In typical reality TV style, the group has love triangles and friendship dramas, but also celebrates black success and entrepreneurship.
“I don’t know if we’ve ever had this kind of portraiture, documented in this way,” says Rae, who once again turns to the backdrop of southern LA in which she was raised and that she highlighted on Unsafe. Of her commitment to telling stories there, she said: âThe way it’s presented, I think, has been over the years such a specific story for the city, and to be able to have the opportunity to reshaping that – and not necessarily denying that story because it’s still ours – but just coming up with alternate narratives, it’s exciting. “
The first party, held at NeueHouse in Hollywood, has been reduced to a more intimate event amid rising COVID-19 delta variant cases; guests were also required to present proof of vaccination and be tested prior to the event. The actors weren’t there, as they’re currently in a film production bubble, but Rae’s Unsafe co-star Yvonne Orji was on hand to support.
As to why Rae doubled down The good life Her new favorite show, the executive producer said the cast “reminds me of my friends and I truly believe my friends we have built together to become who we are today,” adding, “I love watching real people go through shit because you feel less alone.
Sweet Life: Los Angeles is now streaming on HBO Max.