Issa Rae Says Hollywood Will Be More Diverse as ‘Racist Old Executives’ Die

Writer, actress, and Insecure co-creator Issa Rae is Complex's new cover star, and in her in-depth interview with Nadeska Alexis she spoke at length about the issues of race in the entertainment industry.

When Rae was asked about a comment she made regarding Hollywood's diversity and progress being tied to racist, old executives dying off, the star didn’t mince words in her response. 

“I'm happy to report that we're making progress. People are dying,” she said in joke-y and serious manner. “Roger Ailes just died. He needed to go. it's great. As time goes on… unfortunately we won't be able to take advantage of it like the younger generation, but it's happening and I feel like there are people in positions of power who wouldn't have had an opportunity in the past that have opportunities now and who have, a firm vision and are intent on hiring the people who haven't been hired in the past. I'm very optimistic on that. People die every day, so it's great.”

Issa Rae's words may rub some the wrong way, but there's truth in what she's saying. Racial issues in the entertainment industry have been well-publicized these last few years, most notably with the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in the movie industry. Television, by comparison, has offered a more diverse crowd of nominees at the Emmys, but make no mistake: there’s still progress to be made—especially at all levels of the creative process, including the executive levels, where money is allocated and shows get greenlit or canceled.

In that respect, Rae highlights the importance of having individuals like Prentice Penny and Melina Matsoukas involved in the day-to-day creation of Insecure. While you wouldn’t describe them as TV veterans, their vision certainly helped shape the show. According to Rae, not everyone gets that opportunity in 2017.

“That's the biggest catch-22 of the situation of just trying to work in Hollywood, trying to hire younger writers, trying to hire people who aren't in the union and who aren't experienced,” she said. “They'll never get those opportunities if they don't get a chance, and some people get a chance and blow it. OK, but at least they got one.”

Watch our full video cover story with Issa Rae here. Season 2 of Insecure premieres on HBO this Sunday, July 23.

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Brockhampton Are Putting Numbers on the Board

Brockhampton had one of the best albums of 2017 so far, but the group has been at it for a minute now. I still remember being blown away by them at SXSW 2015, but in the past months, things have really taken off for them. Thanks to a great album Saturation, a TV show on VICE, and some awesome music videos, Brockhampton's stock is rising quickly. Watch the video above to get familiar, and subscribe to Pigeons & Planes on YouTube for more.

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The Best TV Shows of 2017 (So Far)

The first six months of 2017, we can all agree, have been hot garbage. Everything in the news cycle ranges from merely troubling to potentially catastrophic. Thankfully, there's no shortage of distractions to give some temporary relief, coming in the form of great TV programming. On other hand, the amount of great television shows to pick from can be, frankly, panic-inducing. 

Lucky for you, it's our job to sift through the reality shows of Bravo, the comedies of FXX, the dramas of HBO, and the literally everything on Netflix to discover what is and what isn't worth watching. Mid-year brings a surprising lack of reboots (with one exception), only one superhero show, and a whole menagerie of comedies. Guess we're looking for some feel-good television (jk, you know that's not true). And with that, here are our Best TV shows of 2017 so far. 


  • 25. Billions

    Network: Showtime
    Starring: Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff, Malin Akerman, Toby Leonard Moore

    Billions centers around the financial world, which normal cinematic convention would dictate means there’s a ridiculously rich guy pitted against the law. To get more specific about it, Damian Lewis plays Axe, the manager of a hedge fund with a penchant for dirty deals and insider trades, who is constantly dodging the fury of Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti), who is the powerful, BDSM-loving U.S. Attorney General who is out to get Axe. It’s a classic set-up for juicy interrogation scenes and explosive investigations, and Billions delivers on all of that with an iconic yellow sports car to boot, but the stakes are turned all the way up in the show’s second season. This year also saw the addition of the excellent Asia Kate Dillon to the cast, who plays the first gender non-binary character in TV history. —Julia Pimentel


  • 24. The Young Pope

    Network: HBO
    StarringJude Law, Diane Keaton, Silvio Orlando 

    Jude Law played the role of Lenny Belardo, the Church’s first American-born pontiff, masterfully as he juggled dealing with the Cardinals trying to thwart his papacy behind his back while struggling with his own inner demons. The young god was in the Vatican chainsmoking cigarettes and performing miracles like it was nobody’s business for 10 of the most stylish episodes you’ll ever watch. The Young Pope is sort of like an artsy West Wing but for Vatican City as show creator Paolo Sorrentino lifts the veil on the way politics are handled in one of the world’s highest institutions. There was some dark comedy, graphic sex scenes, and powerful performances—shouts to Diane Keaton and Silvio Orlando for killing their respective roles. I wish the rules of the church would let their characters fall in love, but the life of a priest and a nun is about keeping sins of the flesh at bay, and only loving God. —Angel Diaz


  • 23. Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

    Network: TBS
    StarringSamantha Bee, Allana Harkin, Ashley Nicole Black

    Trump's presidency has given Full Frontal a LOT of material for season two, and Samantha Bee uses all the insanity to her advantage. Highlights included her evisceration of Ivanka Trump and her special Full Frontal episode, “'Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner,” which included an appearance from Will Ferrell as George W. Bush. Unfortunately, Full Frontal would be a lot more funny if it weren't all so real. —Lauren Zupkus


  • 22. Veep

    Network: HBO
    StarringJulia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale

    This season of Veep has been so incredibly good as Selina Meyer tries to live the life of a former president the best way she can. The only thing is she was the leader of the free world for like a year and gets no respect. She’s essentially the Rodney Dangerfield of former presidents. A library for the first woman president should be a no-brainer, right? Shit, even Jimmy Carter has one; nope, no library love for the first female commander-in-chief in the history of man. But Jonah Ryan (played by Timothy Simons) steals the show, as his pettiness and incompetence knows no bounds in his role as a New Hampshire congressman. Every episode ups the ante as Selina tries to write a memoir while wrangling the gang of misfits she’s put in charge of handling her affairs. Veep is perfectly vulgar, smart, witty, and outrageous; the perfect recipe for winning a treasure trove of Emmys once again. —Angel Diaz

     


  • 21. Catastrophe

    Network: Amazon
    AmazonSharon Horgan, Rob Delaney, Mark Bonnar 

    While Catastrophe bears the great honor of having Carrie Fisher’s last onscreen appearance—which is terrific BTW—the British comedy (well, maybe dramedy) in its third season has continued to be one of the best depictions of marriage on television. Sharon (Sharon Horgan, a true kween) and Rob (Rob Delaney) are in the midst of a rough patch, dealing with infidelity, unemployment, and aging parents. While the heart of the show will always be Sharon and Rob’s relationship, which is both abrasive and loving, season three ups the ante while exploring Rob’s escalating drinking relapse–perhaps one of the more realistic portrayals of alcoholism on television. Yeah, it’s a lot of heavy stuff, but it’ll also make you laugh your ass off. (And cry because of, y’know, Fisher’s last appearance). —Kerensa Cadenas
     


  • 20. Santa Clarita Diet

    Network: Netflix
    StarringDrew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson 

    Honestly, Netflix had me at “Drew Barrymore plays a zombie real estate agent.” While my wife couldn’t be in the room because of Drew’s gorging on the flesh of the living and the gore that came with that premise, the series was deeper than Suburban Night of the Living Dead. It was about a family and its struggles to deal with each other, hiding secrets and desires while trying to do right by each other. Barrymore and Timmy Olyphant nailed their performances, grounding their black comedy with flying colors. If you can get past the ultraviolence, there’s a truly heartfelt show residing underneath. —khal

     


  • 19. Fargo

    Network: FX
    StarringBilly Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Allison Tolman 

    Season three hasn’t been as good as the two previous seasons, but Fargo is still premium television, especially the second half of this year’s chapter. The northern Midwest and idiot criminals go together like oh and jeez. This season feels a bit darker with Ewan McGregor playing Emmit and Ray Stussy—two brothers at odds over a rare stamp collection. When the younger of the two, Ray, tries to get the last stamp left with the help of his ex-con lady Nikki Swango (the underrated Mary Elizabeth Winstead) he sets off a series of events that can only happen on a show like Fargo. There’s also a shadowy British mob figure with bad teeth involved in all this because of course there is. Murder and mystery soon follow as Emmit, Ray, and V.M. Varga (that British mobster I mentioned earlier) try to get Eden Valley police chief Gloria Burgle (played by Carrie Coon of the Leftovers fame) off their tracks. Fargo is beautifully shot, well written, and fun for the entire family. Sex, murder, and mayhem should be enjoyed with the people you love. —Angel Diaz


  • 18. The Americans

    Network: FX
    StarringKeri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich, Maximiliano Hernandez, Holly Taylor

    When this story of two high-level, ultra-secret and deadly KGB spies debuted back in 2013, it was a good show. But now that our President might be a Russian hack himself and we might as well be pledging allegiance to Mother Russia, The Americans has gained an eerie, prescient quality that only adds to the show’s already suspenseful tone. This season has been Philip and Elizabeth Jennings struggling more than ever before with their spy work in America, as the toll their life takes on their family comes into sharp focus with every passing day. This fantastic slow-burning drama showed it knows how to play the long game in this year’s season, with several expertly drafted parallel storylines and supremely well acted moments, and even though we know from showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields that there will only be one more season, The Americans has likely already cemented its place in TV’s hall of fame. —Julia Pimentel


  • 17. Girls

    Network: HBO
    Starring
    Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver

    This year brought the official end of Lena Dunham’s white female millennial story, and with it came the end of one of the most distinct and unapologetic shows in recent history. Although the show was often at the center of controversy—most notably its lack of diverse character representation—it still managed to become one of the best representations of the millennial social milieu ever depicted on television, and that is largely because of Dunham’s ambitious knack for raw storytelling. The show’s final season is an ode to growing up in New York City: how has the Hannah Horvath who asked her parents for money in the first scene of the first episode changed, now that she is raising a biracial baby on her own upstate? The show’s dedication to character development is its greatest strength. —Julia Pimentel


  • 16. The Breaks

    Network: VH1
    Starring: Afton Williamson, Wood Harris, Tristan “Mack” Wilds

    With an impressive backdoor pilot in the form of 2016’s TV movie The Breaks, the first season of The Breaks stayed truer to the world of hip-hop than series like The Get Down and Empire. Where The Get Down fancied itself as a glamorous re-telling of the time before hip-hop was a thing, and Empire is a glamorous soap about hip-hop at its excess, The Breaks keeps it a buck, staying grounded in that sweet spot of hip-hop finding its way in a mainstream that was ready for it. No one was balling like that, which made the hunger 20 times realer. Afton Williamson is a star as Nikki, and hold her own alongside a cast featuring everyone from The Wire alum Wood Harris, Tristan “Mack” Wilds, and Method Man to Sinqua Walls, Melonie Diaz, and David Call. It’s no wonder that the series picked up its second season, even though it’ll be interesting to see what a move to BET will do for the future of the show. —khal


  • 15. Twin Peaks

    Network: Showtime
    StarringKyle MacLachlan, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson 

    TV revivals are certainly in vogue, but that doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to be good: the X-Files had a particularly embarrassing return to the small screen last year, with Arrested Development not faring much better the year prior. But in the case of Twin Peaks: The Return, the long-awaited third season of David Lynch’s dreamy mystery series, the beloved show has never been better. Stuffed with guest stars like Naomi Watts and Michael Cera and oscillating between crime stories in New York City, South Dakota and the titular Twin Peaks, The Return um, returns, to Lynch’s perennial obsession with the seedy underbelly of suburbia in traditionally gorgeous form. Far more meandering and opaque than the quirky, coffee-fueled small town story that preceded it, Lynch has expanded the world of his series tenfold: to sumptuous, rebelliously satisfying effect. —Aubrey Page


  • 14. I Love Dick

    Network: Amazon
    Starring: Kevin Bacon, Kathryn Hahn, Griffin Dunne 

    Did you ever realize that you needed to see Kevin Bacon, in full cowboy garb, hand rolling a cigarette? Would you ever guess it might be one of the sexiest TV scenes of the year? Well, that’s a very good reason to watch I Love Dick immediately. Another one is the truly underrated and completely compelling Kathryn Hahn as Chris, a manic, brilliant filmmaker who follows her academic husband to Marfa, Texas when her movie is rejected by a major film festival. There she falls for Dick (played by Kevin Bacon), a fellow academic where her husband will be residing. Chris and her husband Sylvere become obsessed with Dick—which culminates in a letter writing project—that stirs up their formerly dormant libidos and Chris’s creativity. From Jill Soloway, the mind behind Transparent, I Love Dick doesn’t care about traditional television structure or narrative—it can be tough to watch but it’s utterly engaging and breathtaking at times. Episode five, “A Short History of Weird Girls,” might be the best television episode of the year AND the best examination of female desire on screen ever. —Kerensa Cadenas


  • 13. New Girl

    Network: Fox
    Starring: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield 

    Listen, there are higher-rated sitcoms, sitcoms with more award buzz, sitcoms that are brilliant in their own right. But New Girl is the funniest most original situation comedy out right now. The fact that it's long in the tooth—renewal was so touch and go this year the finale was filmed to serve as a *series* conclusion if need be—is its greatest benefit. These are characters so uniquely bizarre and actors who have been inhabiting them and cohabiting with each other for like a decade now. Their freedom and trust to be wacky with their personas and with each other is unbridled, earned, and a fucking joy to watch. What Lamorne, Jake, and Max Greenfield do in any given episode should be taught in comic courses everywhere. This is the series that made Megan Fox funny for Christsake, case closed. —Frazier Tharpe


  • 12. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

    Network: The CW
    Starring: Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III, Donna Lynne Champlin 

    Season two of The CW’s Golden Globe-winning twisted musical rom-com upped the ante on Rebecca Bunch’s craziness. After much dogged determination, the apple of her eye—the dull Josh Chan—was finally hers. Well, not without many ups and downs. While Josh and Rebecca’s relationship completely went off the rails, the best part of season two was Rebecca’s blossoming friendships with the women around her and finally some semblance of self-awareness. Don’t worry, it all rapidly falls apart in the absolutely perfect finale and season three Rebecca is primed for revenge. And that’s great, because our favorite Rebecca is the most unhinged version of herself, which always promises even better songs. —Kerensa Cadenas


  • 11. The Keepers

    Network: Netflix
    StarringTom Nugent, Deb Silcox, Gemma Hoskins 

    True crime shows have oversaturated the television game in recent years, but the story brought to light in Netflix's The Keepers is an account worth telling. With the pace of Making a Murderer and a theme that echoes 2015's Spotlight, The Keepers seeks to uncover the mystery of Cathy Cesnik, a popular Baltimore nun whose murder remains unsolved. Without much cooperation from the police, Cesnik's tenacious former students form a grassroots investigation to find both answers and healing in the wake of their favorite teacher's death. Much like Making a Murderer and The Jinx, The Keepers has inspired a renewed effort to revisit the seemingly botched case. —Lauren Zupkus


  • 10. The Handmaid’s Tale

    Network: Hulu
    Starring: Elisabeth Moss, O-T Fagbenle, Yvonne Strahovski 

    When we first sat down to debate what should be on this list and where it should be, Handmaid's Tale was considerably higher. ​The first three episodes of the adaptation of Margaret Atwood's landmark '80s novel are chilling, a masterclass in an ugly narrative so beautifully made you can't look away. But you do have to pause. Even for the seen-it-all, not of faint heart, this story of a dystopian future where the New American World Order is one that hides behind biblical text to instate an aggressively chauvinist society is a tough pill to swallow. Couple that with a worldwide fertility crisis and the ultimate nightmare is engineered: the rare amount of designated fertile women, like our narrator, June, are made into handmaids. As June describes early on, not concubines but wombs with legs. Their identities and personalities are stripped—June, for example becomes Offred as in of Fred, her “owner”—and once a month a ritual rape occurs in the hopes of impregnation. It's harrowing stuff, made even more unsettling by flashbacks that show how the climate that allowed the world to devolve to this…a climate not too dissimilar from our own.

    Elisabeth Moss is rivaling her iconic work in Mad Men already—her face conveys a multitude of contrasting emotions in any given scene. Samara Wiley, Joseph Fiennes, Ann Dowd, and especially Yvonne Strahovski and Alexis Bledel, form a murder's row of talent. Too bad then, that the back half of the season is undoing itself by spending too much time in the serialized TV muck. I haven't read the book, but aspects of a rebellion plot and Offred's involvement seem hackneyed and cliched. A flashback episode revealing what happened to a character from the pilot gave me Walking Dead PTSD. The decision to pair it with another, even less compelling and illuminating male-centric flashback ep is downright bemusing. It's almost as frustrating as the music choices, which veer from workably ironic to on-the-nose and corny. But at press time, the penultimate episode is a fine return to form. A TV season is a marathon, prestige is a pace that lags and laps from episode to episode. However Handmaid finishes the race, we'll always have those first three, though. —Frazier Tharpe


  • 9. Master of None

    Network: Netflix
    StarringAziz Ansari, Eric Wareheim, Lena Waithe

    Master of None is a frustrating show. In the series’ second season, creators Aziz Ansari and Alan Wang demonstrated greater maturity and interest in the experiences of its peripheral characters, specifically the women; but its execution was inconsistent. As perfect as “Thanksgiving” was, with its anchoring performance from the ageless Angela Bassett and heartfelt exploration of Lena Waithe’s Denise, the development of Dev’s love interest this season, Alessandra Mastronardi’s Francesca, felt wanting at best.

    Because I’m taken with the show’s impeccable soundtrack, sincere love for New York, and its fairy tale qualities—something I’ve used to justify the odd performances and line readings from many of the actors, Ansari and Eric Wareheim specifically—I squinted at Francesca. I tried to give her a more generous reading, glomming on to her as a character feeling trapped by a provincial upbringing. She’s intentionally opaque to the viewer in the same way that she can be unreadable to Dev (granted, this doesn’t allow for the show to do anything sophisticated with dramatic irony, and so that’s a strike against the storytelling). But after talking about the final episodes with friends, it’s clear that she’s just not there. More time is spent on her freaking out over diarrhea medicine than on figuring out what makes her tick, and it shows that as much as the show has evolved since its first season, it still needs to grow in crucial ways.

    Still, Master of None has taste and really cares about music—see the inclusion of Timmy Thomas and Lucio Battisti and Gigi Maslin. It understands the immediate pathos of music in a way that isn’t gimmicky or hamfisted, something you can’t say about otherwise strong shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and even The Leftovers. —Ross Scarano


  • 8. Dear White People

    Network: Netflix
    StarringLogan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, Marque Richardson, DeRon Horton, Antoinette Robertson 

    Based on Justin Simien’s 2014 movie of the same name, Dear White People picks up exactly where the movie left off, using the blackface Halloween party that was at the climax of the movie as the impetus for the 10 episode character-centered storyline. The show has the same Ivy League, smooth aesthetic, and since a large portion of the cast reprised their roles, everything feels familiar. Perhaps most importantly, the show embodies the same unapologetic approach to the thorniest of race issues as the film did, always straddling the line between activism and outright anger, but because the 10 episode arc has more time and space to explore the tensions within the social classes of Winchester University, the show is able to reach farther than the movie ever could. While it can, at times, get overly didactic, Dear White People is a powerful ode to “woke” culture, tackling the issue of race in modern-day America explicitly through the lens of young black folk. —Julia Pimentel


  • 7. Better Call Saul

    Network: AMC
    StarringPatrick Fabian, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks 

    While its ratings are slipping (it’s gone from roughly 3 million viewers on average in its first season to barely holding onto 1.5 million a week in season three), Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul continues to shine when it comes to quality. There’s a beauty in its turtle pace, the slow descent into madness that is Jimmy McGill’s pre-Walter White life has been a blessing. We not only get to see the entrance of Gus Fring into the series this season, and the early machinations of his relationship to Mike, but there are also some realizations regarding McGill’s shift to Saul Goodman. Honestly, though, if this series is going to be this damn good, we could deal with another season (or two) of build-up before reaching its satisfying climax. —khal


  • 6. Riverdale

    Network: The CW
    StarringK.J. Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse 

    As the No. 1 fans of The CW, there was no way we weren’t going to love Riverdale but I don’t think we expected to LOVE it this much. Best described as The O.C. meets Twin Peaks meets Archie Comics, the show has an almost overwhelming amount of elements—teen drama, soap opera, murder mystery, romance—and could easily fall into substandard teen fare but it never does due in part to its brilliant casting. It’s a mix of unknowns for Archie (K.J. Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Veronica (Camila Mendes), and Jughead (Cole Sprouse, of child fame) coupled with teen stars of yore as their parents Skeet Ulrich, Molly Ringwald, Mädchen Amick, and Luke Perry. This creates a delicious dynamic of unrequited love (and, uh, incest), as a small town is rocked by mystery and solving the murder of the dead high school quarterback, Jason Blossom. Plus, we’ve really got to give it to Betty for making rage fists a thing.—Kerensa Cadenas
     


  • 5. The Good Place

    Network: NBC
    Starring: Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil 

    I’m not sure anyone expected The Good Place—the high-concept Kristen Bell-led comedy about a woman who accidentally lands herself in heaven despite not actually being a great person during her time on earth—to be quite as good as it turned out to be. Created by Mike Schur, the guy behind The Office and Parks and Recreation, The Good Place spent its lean 10-episode order building an almost deviously ingenious world, all while laying out engrossing character arcs for Bell’s deliciously acrid Eleanor, Ted Danson’s sunny Michael and William Jackson Harper’s fatally neurotic Chidi in the process. A far more diabolically funny show than the holy glow of the premise implies with one hell of a final episode kicker, The Good Place is one of the best original comedies in years—maybe even decades. —Aubrey Page


  • 4. Chewing Gum

    Network: Netflix
    StarringMichaela Coel, Robert Lonsdale, Susan Wokoma, Danielle Walters, Tanya Franks

    Carried entirely by the brilliant Michaela Coel, who created, wrote, and stars in this British comedy, Chewing Gum is a bubbly, hilarious coming of age story full of Beyoncé references and extremely unsexy sex scenes. Coel plays Tracey Gordon, a horny East Londoner who works at the corner shop and lives with her religious mother and devout sister and will go to literally any length to lose her virginity. If that seems like too simple a plot, you’re underestimating Coel’s epic comedic writing and timing; though the ridiculous ups and downs of Tracey’s relationship with her boyfriend are objectively hilarious, the show is, at its heart, a journey of self-discovery for a young black woman, and this emotional element becomes more apparent than ever in the second season. —Julia Pimentel


  • 3. Legion

    Network: FX
    StarringDan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza 

    With the run FX has been on as of late with series like Atlanta, Better Things, Fargo, and American Crime Story, there was little doubt that they’d nail the first true superhero property in their programming block. What was unexpected is how captivating a series with a C-list member of the X-Men, Legion (who is the son of Professor X) would be. The series, which separated itself from the mostly-lukewarm X-Men Cinematic Universe, scored the most points when it marched to the beat of its own drum. Legion, who is quite possibly one of the most powerful mutants ever, spent the majority of the eight-episode first season trying to understand his powers, while viewers spent most of those episodes trying to learn how to take in the fully-realized world that Noah Hawley created. Luckily, we had stellar performances from Dan Stevens as the unreliable narrator David Haller (aka Legion) and Aubrey Plaza who truly stole every scene she was in— blending a leftfield sense of mania with impressive evil undertones. Legion was a Wes Anderson film masquerading as a superhero series, and got better with each episode. —khal


  • 2. Big Little Lies

    Network: HBO
    StarringReese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley 

    Did anyone really need another show about rich white women? Not really, but wow did Big Little Lies exceed every expectation. The Jean Marc Vallee (his best work tbh) directed, Reese Witherspoon produced drama based on the novel by Liane Moriarty follows a group of Monterey, California moms—sniping and griping about their day-to-day lives, which primarily revolves around their grade school aged children. But under the picturesque California landscape, of course, lies something much more sinister. A greek chorus of Monterey parents, teachers and partners all work to unravel a murder that has rocked their idyllic community. With breathtaking turns from Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, and Shailene Woodley, along with an impressive supporting cast of Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, and many #thespian children, Big Little Lies is full of salacious drama, heartbreak and utterly proves that it’s not just a “woman’s show.” A big middle finger to all those dudes out there who said that because these ladies are laughing all the way to every goddamn awards show out. —Kerensa Cadenas


  • 1. The Leftovers

    Network: HBO
    StarringJustin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston

    Seven years ago, Damon Lindelof (along with co-showrunner Carlton Cuse) delivered one of the most divisive finales of all time with LOST. It's easy to analyze the ways in which the finale of his latest series, The Leftovers, is both a reaction and commentary to the LOST fallout. But truly, the entirety of The Leftovers was one big subtweet to to the same people whose vitriol literally drove Lindelof off of Twitter. Leftovers was never a show about #answers, it was always a show with its own smoke monsters, Daddy issues, and men of science dueling with men of faith—but without an Orientation video when Justin Theroux sweatily demands answers. The Leftovers has other, much more important themes and missions: mainly, being the ultimate treatise on grief and faith that we've seen on television in some time.

    Truly, season 2 ended perfectly. We didn't quite need a third, and that worried me. Shame on me: just when I thought Leftovers resolved all of its characters inner turmoils, it used this renewal to make the ultimate statement: we never ~truly~ get over our shit. We learn to live with it, keep living in lieu of it, but the potential for it to rear its head again is always there. And if you let it, it could ruin everything you tried to rebuild. It's been a great year for television—but whatever your fave is, it doesn't have material as weighty as this countered with truly authentically capital-w Weird shit like a Tasmanian Sex Boat dedicated to Frasier the lion, and have that not even be the weirdest, funniest aspect of the episode. Goodbye to this beautiful, captivating, soul-crushing masterpiece. I hope everyone left standing in the end is doing OK, but we all probably know the answer to that.—Frazier Tharpe

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‘All Eyez On Me’ Costume Designer Reveals What It Was Like To Style Tupac In The ’90s

Capturing the look and essence of ‘90s hip-hop style can be challenging—especially when it’s for a movie like All Eyez on Me, the film about Tupac Shakur. But Kenya Ware, the costume designer for All Eyez on Me (out in theatres on June 16), was there and lived through it. She even styled Tupac himself before he was killed in 1996.

Ware, an L.A. native, married and started a family with Tha Dogg Pound member and Snoop Dogg’s cousin, Daz Dillinger, in 1991. Helping in any way that she knew how, she began to shop for Death Row Records’ artists, including Snoop, Tha Dogg Pound, The Lady of Rage, Nate Dogg, often hand-delivering wardrobe to the set of music video shoots and TV appearances. From there, she became Death Row’s West Coast marketing representative. 

All Eyez on Me
Image via Lionsgate

She credits Suge Knight for supporting her passion for styling. “Suge always told me that beauty was only temporary, but your intelligence is forever,” she says. “He inspired me to get my own. He wanted me to succeed and that’s stayed with me to this day.” 

In her 20-year career, Ware has worked as a costume designer for films and TV shows like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1, Ride Along 2, Entourage (film), and Straight Outta Compton.

In this exclusive interview, Ware talks about what it was like working with Tupac, what she wanted to accomplish with the wardrobe for All Eyez on Me, and why Tupac’s style will always be imitated.

Kenya Ware with Tupac
Kenya Ware (left) with Tupac. (Image via Kenya Ware)

How did you meet the guys from Death Row?
The first person I met was N.W.A. member MC Ren backstage at a 1989 New Edition concert. N.W.A.’s bodyguard approached me and said one of the members wanted to talk to me. I was frightened because I had heard they were gangbangers. Ren asked me for my number and on the first date I almost got kicked out of my house because he walked into my Baldwin Hills estate with a black trench coat, khakis, and Crip slippers. My mother went ballistic!

From there, I was invited to several N.W.A. concerts where I met Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and the rest of the gang. Years later, when Death Row was forming, I met Suge Knight and Snoop Dogg.

How did you meet Tupac?
[My ex-husband] Daz [Dillinger] would always write letters to the Clinton Correctional Facility to try to keep Tupac's spirit up while he was in jail on the rape case. Once he got out and signed with Death Row, I threw him a party at our place. We invited Method Man, Redman, Rage, Snoop, Kurupt, and a few other people to celebrate Tupac being released from jail and also signing with Death Row Records. 

Kenya Ware with Dr. Dre
Kenya Ware (center) with Dr. Dre and Sam Sneed at Suge Knight's 662 Club in Las Vegas in 1995. (Image via Kenya Ware)

What was it like shopping for Tha Dogg Pound?
Shopping for Tha Dogg Pound and Snoop was always fun because I got to create something different than gangster wear. They were in love with Guess shirts but still wanted the baggy Karl Kani jeans. It was a slow process to get them away from the Dickies uniform. I had to make sure that whatever I bought for them was oversized and was in either blue or grey, which were Tha Dogg Pounds’ and the Crips’ colors.

Did you shop for Tupac?
‘Pac had his own style. He wasn't interested in clothing right away. He said the only thing he wanted to do was stay at the studio and make as much music as possible. I often pulled boxes of Karl Kani clothing for the boys and let them pick out what they wanted to wear for events.

All Eyez on Me
Image via Lionsgate

What did you buy for Tupac? What was he into at the time?
I tagged along with Suge Knight and ‘Pac during the [boxing] fights in Las Vegas. Shopping at Caesar's Palace during the fights was the best. It was kind of like a status quo. That's where you got to showcase how much money you really had because all the ballers were watching. Tupac wasn't that into fashion but at that point, in the ‘90s, you had to dress to impress. He slowly transitioned away from the gangster clothes to Versace. Suge was about to hire me as ‘Pac’s personal stylist, but then ‘Pac got killed.

Speaking of Versace, Tupac walked in a runway show with Kidada Jones for the Italian fashion house in 1996. How did that happen? Whose decision was it to have a bodyguard walk with them?
During those days, if you were an artist on Death Row Records the rule was you had to always wear your bulletproof vest and keep a bodyguard at all times. The bodyguard was definitely Suge Knight’s call.

All Eyez on Me
Image via Lionsgate

What did you want to accomplish with the wardrobe for All Eyez on Me?
This film needed to have Karl Kani and Walker Wear to be authentic because those were two designers that Tupac wore religiously. I wanted to make sure that all of the replicas were right. Sometimes getting information from third parties or Google aren’t that accurate, so[All Eyez on Me producer] L.T. Hutton figured it would be better to hire a person who actually knew Tupac and was around him a lot.

How would you describe Tupac's style?
A revolutionary gangster. He set the tone for the durag on your head, the body tattoos, and the oversized baggy jeans.

Are there any specific Tupac looks you tried to copy for the movie?
Yes. Tupac did an advertisement for Karl Kani and we remade that look. The actor who plays Tupac, Demetrius Shipp, went to Karl Kani's studio and we made sure that he looked and wore the clothes just like Tupac. We also copied the Black Panther Party look because his mom was a Black Panther.

All Eyez on Me
Image via Lionsgate

What do you think of Demetrius Shipp Jr.?
Ironically, Demetrius' father used to work with Death Row back in the days, so it was like working with family. It's just amazing that his son looks just like Tupac. Demetrius Shipp was the best choice [for the role]. It’s funny because before he started acting he worked at Walmart.

Did he stay in character on set?
He had Tupac's demeanor down to a T.

What was the vibe like on set? Did any celebrities stop by?
I did most of the shopping in Los Angeles but the few times I did visit the set in Atlanta and saw Demetrius it was like seeing Tupac reincarnated. I think every celebrity in Atlanta stopped by the set in hopes of getting a cameo. Snoop’s dad, Vernell [Varnado], and Daz were on set during the entire time.

tupac
Image via Getty/Ron Galella

Where did you source the wardrobe from?
Since I grew up in L.A. in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the shopping came naturally. One of the stores I went to is called Greenspan in South Gate. If you really need gangster clothes, this is the one-stop shop for your ‘80s and ‘90s looks.

Why did All Eyez on Me take so long?
It was a couple things. Tupac's estate and a lot of the people they wanted to do the movie held it up. There were also issues with clearing the music since Death Row’s catalog was sold.

What's your favorite Tupac look?
I love the Versace blue and gold shirt he wore. I actually have a picture of me and him in that shirt at Suge Knight’s daughter's third birthday party. 

tupac
Image via Getty/Steve Eichner

Do you remember where you were when you heard Tupac was killed? Walk us through that moment.
I was actually in Vegas with Tupac and Suge when he was killed. I was with Tupac downstairs at the Luxor Hotel after they got into a big fight at MGM Grand. I spoke to him right before he took that car ride to Club 662. I made the first call to [Suge’s ex-wife] Sharitha Knight and Daz and let them know what had just happened. One minute I was walking into Club 662 wondering why it was taking Tupac so long to get there and next thing you know we were told that something had happened to him. I drove like 100 miles an hour trying to get to the crime scene. It was the craziest night of my life.

Why do you think Tupac's style was copied so much in the years after his death? What do you think he would've thought of that?
Tupac was a pioneer of rap, period. This man created history and set a tone in just 24 years of life. He will forever be copied because his style was genuine. If he were alive today, at age 45, he'd probably teach the youth to be original and create their own style.

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2 Chainz joined Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska Alexis on Thursday's new episode of Everyday Struggle. The new Chainz album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music drops Jun. 16 and will be followed by a just-announced tour of the same name spanning 35 dates, so there was plenty to discuss during the hour-long conversation. 

Below, we've rounded up 5 highlights from the latest episode of Everyday Struggle. The full interview can be watched above.

2 Chainz is already working on the follow-up to Pretty Girls Like Trap Music.

“I'm not content,” 2 Chainz said. “I'm thirsty for more success, more fans, bigger venues, more touring.” Chainz added that he wakes up with new ideas every single day. “I'm gonna fuck the game up,” he said. The next album will show “this other side” of Chainz as an artist.

2 Chainz doesn't worry about counting bars.

“I didn't know a line where a line ended,” Chainz said of his early work, noting that he still doesn't worry about when hooks come in on a track. “So the first people who were teaching me how to do bars, I just was one of them defiant students.” 

Lil Wayne helped 2 Chainz ditch the idea of traditional music structure.

Elaborating on his “I don't know how to count bars” approach, Chainz credited Lil Wayne with teaching him how to not give a single fuck about traditional song structure. While on tour with Wayne in 2008, Chainz witnessed Wayne rap beyond what he thought was “the hook sound” of a track before Wayne shut that entire concept down. “I said, 'Hey bruh, you rapped over the hook sound,'” Chainz recalled. “He said, 'Boy, ain't no hook sound, bitch.'”

2 Chainz recorded “Birthday Song” on the tour bus.

“Birthday Song,” his collaboration with Kanye West from the 2012 album Based on a T.R.U. Story, was recorded on his tour bus. “When I bought a bus, it had a studio in it,” Chainz said. “So 'Birthday Song' was done in my bus. [Kanye West] flew to South by Southwest to see me perform. We got on my bus and did 'Birthday Song.' I did a lot of my album, the first album that you hear, on my bus already doing shows and touring. To me, the studio was my trap.”

2 Chainz believes hip-hop shouldn't have rules, even when it comes to ghostwriting.

“What's happening is, you can still get you a Lamborghini and not be on TV,” Chainz said. “They reward you differently now.”

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But to many people who watched (and announced, and played in) the game, the real star wasn't LeBron or Steph Curry, but rather Rihanna. The pop star was in the audience for Game 1, and was not shy about letting it be known who she was rooting for—and against.

From courtside, she apparently heckled KD during a free throw.

And Durant definitely noticed.

He later denied that he was looking at her specifically, but come on.

Jeff Van Gundy, who was calling the game, acted exactly like any of us would, national TV audience or no, when RiRi walked by.

And then there was the bow. In one incredible sequence, Rihanna bows to LeBron, dabs, and then gives attitude to someone nearby who dared to try and get her to sit down.

As she left, the NBA's new favorite was escorted out by the NBA's new favorite commissioner.

And the best was still to come. Immediately post-game, a fan luxuriated in the Warriors' victory. Rihanna's LeBron-inspired response? “It doesn't matter, bitch. The King is still in the house.”

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