“I knew that I wanted to have a show set in L.A,” said Insecures Issa Rae of the embryo that became the Golden Globe-nominated HBO comedy. “I wanted to highlight specific parts of L.A. that I hadn’t seen demonstrated in the most positive light in the last couple of years and wanted to make South L.A. sexy,” added the series’ forthright star and co–creator at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmy event at a packed DGA Theatre last month.

“Nothing’s straight comedy, nothing’s straight drama,” Rae noted of the series’ hybrid approach to issues of gender, race, romance and life. “In drama there are always elements of comedy. In black culture, you are always trying to laugh through the sadness, and it’s a testament to the experiences that we go through.”

In my review last year of Insecure’s first season, I said the show offered a rare “fascinating and sharp focus on the lives of contemporary African American women.” Co-created with Larry Wilmore, the results from the star of YouTube’s Awkward Black Girl were also “fresh, fierce and fun,” I pointed out – much like Rae herself, as you will see in this video excerpt from our panel.

Insecure is back for its second season July 23, in the eyeball-heavy zone right after the second episode of the seventh season of Game Of Thrones. Until then, check out Season 1 on HBO GO, HBO Now and elsewhere and check out our interview above.