Issa Rae to produce reality series on ‘young Black LA life’

Rae enters the reality show field with a brand new show "Sweet Life: Los Angeles"

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Issa Rae is set to deep dive into the world of Black 20-somethings living in the City of Angels via her new HBO Max reality series Sweet Life: Los Angeles, the streaming service announced on Tuesday.

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Per its official description, Sweet Life: Los Angeles will explore “what it means to be young, Black, and in constant pursuit of one’s dreams in the heart of South Los Angels.”

The series will center on “a group of young, strong-willed, ambitious Black friends showcasing their relatable, authentic and sometimes stumbling mid-20s moments as they embrace the joy and struggles of love and family, while building their careers as tastemakers and influencers in the city where they grew up.”

Rae will executive produce Sweet Life: Los Angeles through her HOORAE banner, along with Main Event Media, an All3Media America Company, and Morning Dew Pictures, TheWrap reports.

Issa Rae
(Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

“We’re so proud to present a grounded and fun slice of young Black LA life. We hope the HBO Max audience will relate to and fall in love with this group of friends as much as we have,” Rae said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to partner with Issa Rae on this fun, dynamic series about a real group of friends and their unique, yet intertwined experiences in South Los Angeles, which has a one-of-a-kind culture that deserves a spotlight all its own,” Jennifer O’Connell, executive vice president of non-fiction and live-action family at HBO Max, added.

Rae developed Sweet Life: Los Angeles under her 8-figure multiyear overall deal with WarnerMedia, theGrio previously reported.

According to Variety, “the pact gives HBO, HBO Max and Warner Bros. television exclusive rights to Rae’s work in TV, plus a first-look film deal that spans WarnerMedia brands, including Warner Bros. Pictures Group, New Line and HBO Max.”

“It’s really exciting to have that flexibility and just deepen the relationship that we already have,” the 36-year-old told Variety, as part of the magazine’s March cover feature. “Hoorae already had at least 15 projects in various stages of development with them, so we’d been working with them on the drama side, the unscripted side, and the documentaries side for a couple years now.”

“When people believe in you and build with you, I tend to want to further that relationship. That’s just been a staple of mine with so many of the people that I work with,” Rae added.

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Meanwhile, HBO Max and Miramax are reviving the docuseries Project Greenlight, with Rae appearing in every episode as an executive producer and mentor to the all-female team of aspiring filmmakers, Variety reports. The finished film will premiere on HBO Max.

Issa Rae
Getty Images

“At HBO Max, we are committed to providing a platform for diverse, up-and-coming talent. Issa is uniquely skilled in this space, and we are thrilled to be partnering with her and Miramax as a promising group of filmmakers is inspired and challenged with their biggest opportunity yet,” said O’Connell. 

The original Project Greenlight aired on HBO from 2001-2003, before Bravo picked it up for a third season in 2005. A fourth season aired on HBO in 2015, but the Emmy-nominated series was canceled a year later. 

“By relaunching the iconic Project Greenlight with the brilliant Issa Rae and HBO Max, we continue our efforts to mine the Miramax library and create exciting, groundbreaking new content as well as forge opportunities for a new generation of innovative voices to be heard,” said Marc Helwig, head of worldwide television at Miramax.

theGrio’s Blue Telusma contributed to this report

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