Issa Rae is putting her executive producer hat on to give us Seen & Heard documentary on black TV pioneers.
The two-part HBO documentary will explore the history of black representation on TV through the eyes of trailblazers who produced, created and starred in a number of groundbreaking series. It will feature archival footage and interviews with actors, writers and showrunners.
“Black people have such a rich, but often unacknowledged history in Hollywood,” said Rae, the creator and star of HBO’s Insecure. “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.”
Phil Bertelsen is directing Seen & Heard. It will feature interviews that offer commentary about representation in Black storytelling, along with verité-driven segments and archival material. Interviewees will reflect on their experiences watching African Americans on TV in the past and today and share insights into their current creative work and inspiration. The goal is to open a window into the larger evolution of Black storytellers throughout the history of the medium.
Bertelsen is also producing alongside Ark Media. Montrel McKay of Issa Rae Productions, 3 Arts Entertainment’s Jonathan Berry and Dave Becky and Ark Media’s Rachel Dretzin and Esther Dare are also executive producing.
This is only one in a slew of new projects to come out featuring Rae including a new quarantine miniseries called Coastal Elites focused on politics surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Other celebrities set to make an appearance in the series include Bette Midler, Dan Levy, and Sarah Paulson as characters offering testimonials on how they have adapted to quarantine.