The issue of cultural appropriation has followed Issa Rae throughout her entire life.
Born in Los Angeles, California to a doctor father and a teacher mother, Rae spent her childhood in Potomac, Maryland, named the richest town in the United States in 2013. It’s safe to say Issa felt anything but black.
Her parent’s affluent lifestyles affected her middle and high school career as well. As her family had moved to Los Angeles when she was in the 6th grade, Issa attended a primarily all-Black school, but never felt “Black” enough, Issa shares in a 2011 Essence interview.
“It was jarring to be berated for ‘acting White’ when I was placed in a predominantly Black middle school in Southern California. I was also chubby, into boys who weren’t into me, and tried too hard to fit into this ‘blackness’ I was supposed to be.”
Issa attended Stanford University, where she majored in African American Studies. After graduating, she used YouTube as a platform to launch her successful comedy series, The Misadventures of An Awkward Black Girl in 2011. The show was so successful, it won a Short Award for Best Web Series the following year, and eventually became the HBO spinoff, Insecure.
The work that it took in between was something that only Issa knows.
Issa Rae’s talents have now extended beyond her web series. She has since become a well-known activist, actress, director, producer, and writer, and has a social media following of over a million people. Forbes also listed her on their 30 under 30 for Hollywood Entertainment.
Issa has worked across the industry field, even developing a 90’s L.A Drama with Turner House author Angela Flournoy, and becoming the new face of Cover Girl. She has also just finished writing her first movie, the drama The Hate U Give, based on the Angie Thomas best seller.
It’s safe to say Issa isn’t limiting her creative options. She continues to dominate any project she’s taken on, though developing and producing series seem to be her forte. Insecure has had two successful seasons so far, and the writers are working on the third season currently.
Over the years the world has watch Issa develop with her content, making a name for herself that is heard and recognized by all. Issa is the warrior we need in today’s society, not only for the film industry, but for women everywhere.
Idols like Issa remind us that it’s okay to feel different from the masses. Through her own experiences of not fitting in anywhere in her life, Issa has inspired a generation of girls who can relate to her natural story telling.
Surely Issa will continue to thrive in all sectors of her career and impact women everywhere. Her image and message is prevalent in all her productions; Being the best you is all you can do. And thanks to Issa, it’s a wonderful reminder.