The recent cancelation of Max's hit series Rap Sh!t has led to a bigger discussion about the treatment of Black-led TV shows.
On Thursday, it was announced that Issa Rae's scripted comedy series, starring Aida Osman, KaMillion, and Jonica Booth, would not be returning for a third season.
Rap Sh!t was so refreshing. I loved that the show shined a spotlight on women from the South, while also highlighting the complicated realities of entrepreneurship, the highs and lows of friendships, and the intimate moments of both familial and romantic relationships.
Despite releasing a statement to Hollywood Reporter, Max did not provide an explanation for the cancelation. “We are extremely grateful to Issa Rae for creating Rap Sh!t, a one-of-a-kind comedy with compelling social commentary that reached viewers in a way only Issa’s talents can accomplish.”
“A huge thank you to Issa, showrunner Syreeta Singleton, and the teams at Hoorae and 3 Arts Entertainment for introducing us to Shawna and Mia, a duo whose journey fans have been invested in and who they have continued to root for through everything. We’ll never get 'Seduce and Scheme' out of our heads and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” the statement read.
Fans, including myself, were devastated by the news, especially because the main characters were finally getting their footing in the music industry in Season 2, which aired its finale last month. And on top of that, Season 2 left off on a major cliffhanger that would change the dynamic of the group forever.
— Kevin T. Solomon (@kevintsolomon) December 21, 2023
This week, X, formerly known as Twitter, was in an uproar as people voiced their shock, confusion, and sadness about the cancelation:
— thee stalli 💃🏾🐎 (@SweetBrownSugar) January 18, 2024
For what it’s worth…we did the best we could in trying to save #RapShit. Issa took Kamillion and Aida to dang near every platform to promote the show and we, the fans, were tweeting our fingers off.I’m so sad, though— S3 was gonna be SO good. 😭😭😭 https://t.co/LiRqGwSz6C
— issa rae’s favorite interviewer. (@TheGreatIsNate) January 18, 2024
Fox / Twitter: @TheGreatIsNate
I wanted to see Mia & Lamont get back together. I wanted to see Chastity get revenge. I wanted to see Mia & Shawna go big. I wanted to see how Maurice was gonna handle being in prison. I wanted to see it all. & now I won't. #RapShit pic.twitter.com/2YTiYa5jZc
— j. (@imjaelyncolee) January 18, 2024
ALL BLK / Twitter: @imjaelyncolee
#RapShit had a proper commentary on coming up as women in the music industry. It had timely critique. The characters were being fleshed out. Thematically it was so strong and nuanced. I am so irritated with these networks not allowing a show to grow. It hit its stride at S2E5.
— Quise (@MarquiseDavon) January 18, 2024
I cannot begin to explain the cultural impact of #rapshit for Black women in the South and the South in hip-hop. It not only brought to light about how Southern Black women have to navigate the music industry compared to our peers, but highlighted our complexities. https://t.co/RLpeeqb9ro
— taylor crumpton (@taylorcrumpton) January 18, 2024
I reeeally wanted to see these stories continue. Just when all of these characters were making a turn, for better or worse, we won’t get to find out how they would have dealt with the beds they made. This sucks. Love to everyone on #RapShit who brought their A+ game.
— Tristen J. Winger (@TristenJWinger) January 18, 2024
My entire TL is mourning #RapShit and all of the quality black content we’ve been allowed to sample only to watch it vanish. Meanwhile other series get years worth of seasons. Why aren’t our stories valued and given longevity? The fake woke DEI of it all is showing.
— Angel C. Dye (@blkgrlpoet) January 18, 2024
Noooooooo! #Rapshit was such a good show and the second season was so amazing. God Netflix, Amazon, or someone please pick it up. Between this, Legendary and Lovecraft why does this keep happening on Max. pic.twitter.com/HWwg9b2Uii
— Mariah (No the other one) (@TheOtherMariah) January 18, 2024
Fox / Twitter: @TheOtherMariah
Unfortunately, several Black-led shows have experienced the same demise — forced to end prematurely before storylines and characters are fully fleshed out, despite passionate fan bases.
The anthology series Love Life was canceled after its second season (which was led in Season 2 by William Harper Jackson and Jessica Williams), and the entire series was taken off of Max; the highly talked about series Lovecraft Country received the axe after just one season; and non-traditional talk show Ziwe got canceled after two seasons.
I grew up during a time when shows with a predominantly Black cast would last for four or more seasons, but as the years pass, the more it turns into a distant memory. Girlfriends ran for eight seasons; One on One ran for five seasons; Martin ran for five seasons; Living Single ran for five seasons; That's So Raven ran for four seasons with multiple spin-offs; Sister, Sister ran for six seasons; The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ran for six seasons; Moesha ran for six seasons; The Game ran for nine seasons; Family Matters ran for nine seasons; and the list goes on.
Many people online also expressed their frustration with the current trend that seems to be plaguing these projects:
Stop canceling Black TV showsStop canceling Black TV shows.Stop canceling Black TV shows.Stop canceling Black TV shows.Stop canceling Black TV shows.Stop canceling Black TV shows.Stop canceling Black TV shows.
— IAMNJERA (@IAMNJERA) January 18, 2024
The lifespan of good Black TV shows is TOO DAMN SHORTLike forget celebrating 5 seasons or more. Now, we’re lucky if we get a season 2😔And you wonder why these “Best TV Shows of All Time” lists are predominantly YT showsWe dont even get a chance at longevity or syndication!
— Shanelle Genai✨ (@shanellegenai) January 18, 2024
The canceling of #RapShit is yet another slap in the face to us and our stories. It’s especially hurtful for those of us that came up during an era where there were countless black shows on TV. Now we have to search far and wide and even then the quality may be questionable. SMDH pic.twitter.com/ndibgz57rO
— MALIK. (@MalikThaElite) January 18, 2024
Walt Disney Pictures / Twitter: @PSawyerSchu
Insecure over, Rap Shit cancelled, High Fidelity cancelled, Run the World cancelled, Smothered s2 not even in sight, like I just wanna watch fun shows starring black women pic.twitter.com/iqhYgY1S0Z
— Sydney Adamu's Best Friend (@kingbealestreet) January 18, 2024
Peacock / Twitter: @kingbealestreet
It's not only on viewers to seek out diverse film and tv to increase their ratings to guarantee the success of Black and brown led projects. It's on the companies that produce them to give them the proper marketing to help guarantee their success as they do white projects.
— Swara A.S. (سوارە) Free🇵🇸and🇦🇲 (@spiderswarz) January 19, 2024
There's no telling what the future holds for series with diverse leads, but all we can do is support the ones we have, while we have them.
Be sure to check out Season 1 and 2 of Rap Sh!t, which is currently streaming on Nax.