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Issa Rae Has a Sketch Comedy Show Featuring All Black Women In the Works

HBO's upcoming "A Black Lady Sketch Show" will be the first sketch comedy TV show that's set to be written by, directed by and starring black women.

With less than a week left in January, Issa Rae is already owning 2019 in more ways than one.

A Black Lady Sketch Show, a new project that's in development with HBO under her banner Issa Rae Productions, is due to be the first sketch comedy show that will be written by, directed by and starring black women, The Hollywood Reporter reports.


Robin Thede of the cancelled BET late-night show The Rundown with Robbin Thede created the straight-to-series sketch comedy and will star, write and executive produce the series alongside Rae. Though each show will run for a half-hour, an episode count and premiere date have yet to be announced.

The show will present narrative sketches performed by a central line-up of black women including Thede and celebrity guests, The Hollywood Reporter adds. Lauren Ashley Smith, another powerhouse black woman in the TV world, is due to be the head writer and co-executive producer for A Black Lady Sketch Show. Smith formerly worked with Thede as the head writer for The Rundown—another weekly talk show that was cancelled by BET. Smith also worked on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen as well as VH1's Best Week Ever.

A Black Lady Sketch Show is part of Rae's relationship with HBO and her overall deal with the premium cable network.

Aside from continuing to be a top-notch boss behind the camera, Rae is due to star in a new HBO limited series called The Dolls, which she co-wrote the script alongside Insecure writer Laura Kittrell and Amy Aniobi. On the film end of things, we can look forward to seeing her star in September 2019 rom-com American Princess, as well as Littleanother comedy due this September the also features Black-ish's Marsai Martin.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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