Michaela Coel is widely known in the UK for exhausting all of her creative energy into top-notch dramatic series. Her latest HBO show, I May Destroy You, explores three friends navigating life and the various ways that rape culture plays out in their realities. The riveting series exposes the many ways a person can be sexually assaulted and the journey to healing from the trauma of these experiences.
“Everything we do is an attempt to make a difference, to have an effect,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in the latest installment of their Master the Art video franchise, in which she gave them deeper insight into her creative writing process.
“The thing I want to leave the audience member with, it’s a feeling – and I don’t know what the word is for that feeling…. I want it to do something viscerally and hit all the senses. I want them to feel like they’ve just been on a huge ride, even though they’ve been still the whole time.”
I often find myself inspired by Michaela Coel’s mind and expression. Her position as the awkward Black creative navigating love, relationships, and responsibilities is relative to today’s generation. She’s been able to successfully show the depths of healing from life’s traumas through her character Arabella. I May Destroy You is a personal project inspired by Michaela’s own experience with rape. Much like her character, Michaela was drugged and sexually assaulted a few years ago. She channeled that pain into the script that birthed her hit TV series.
During a speech at the 2018 MacTaggart Lecture, Michaela said, “Like any other experience I’ve found traumatic, it’s been therapeutic to write about it, and actively twist a narrative of pain into one of hope, and even humor.”
If you haven’t watched I May Destroy You, then you won’t quite understand why this series is so monumental. You also won’t understand why it contributed to Michaela Coel being named the most influential Black woman in the UK. I’m sure it’s based on the totality of her work, not just this show, but culture wise, she changed the game when she allowed us all to witness the world through her lens.