Like most of you, I am the ultimate Issa Rae fan, she is funny, smart and has worked very hard for where she is now. If you remember “Awkward Black Girl” Issa on Youtube then you know just what I mean.
This April she is on the cover of Essence and I need yall to just take these pictures in as well as a few highlights from her cover story in real quick!
See her Instagram post below:
Four years ago, when all I had was a web series and a book, @Essence put me on my first cover with four incredible women I look up to: Ava, Mara, Shonda and Ms. Debbie. It was their “Game Changers” issue and I kept thinking, “I can’t believe they chose me.” That cover meant so much to me because it validated my work on a platform I respected AND it was a nurturing recognition of promise, a promise that I didn’t necessarily see in myself at the time. Four years later — entering the fourth season of my TV show, and shooting my fourth movie in New York — they honored me with this solo cover. Thank you, Essence, for helping me to deliver on that promise you saw years ago, and changing the game for me. 📸: @itayshaphoto Hair: @lovingyourhair Face: @joannasimkin Fits: @jasonrembert
I absolutely loved this part of her editorial piece where she shared a particularly vunerable time in her life when she felt she had to lose weight in comparison to what folks on Twitter thought:
Read below via Essence:
Someone, she says, had tweeted something that made her see herself in a way that she hadn’t quite allowed herself to before. While on location in New Orleans, where her mother hails from and she’s shooting the romantic comedy The Lovebirds, she says, “In my mind I’m just like, I’ve got to lose weight. I’ve been wanting to lose weight all these years, and I’ve been basically pussyfooting. I really need to step it up. The TV show gave me an excuse. You start to become more cognizant of your appearance. But I realized the response to that changed recently. Because I was looking through tweets maybe a couple of months ago, and these girls were shading me but backhand-complimenting me about how wack I was. And one of the tweets was, ‘And that stupid bitch! If I looked like her, then I would never feel insecure.’ And I was like, What?!”
She laughs again, harder this time, at the very idea. It’s the kind of laugh that forces you to join in, even though you totally get the Twitter Thug consensus: Issa Rae is too fine to be insecure. Anymore. Folks think that a woman who rocks a smart, enviable collection of say-it-with-your-chest T-shirts and looks as good as Rae—bright smile; popping melanin; meticulous hair, whether she’s sporting a curly ponytail in a Drake music video or cornrows mixed with auburn-tinted 4C-pattern ringlets—shouldn’t ever have moments of self-doubt.
Oh? Fancy that.
Then she dished about her romantic life historically
Rae wasn’t the first girl picked for romantic entanglements. But she also wasn’t the type to sit around on the bench feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focused on “being smart, being accomplished and being respected. As corny as it sounds, I want you to just like my mind,” she says. “I think a part of it just came from figuring out that the guys I like, I’m not their type. Learning that early on made me realize there’s no point in valuing the physical, because it wasn’t going to get me anywhere. So what can I control, and what can I bring to the table? How can I be valued in this way?”
And who were these fools not valuing Rae 20 years ago? “They were just n——s,” she says and then breaks into a fit of laughter. “I’m glad a lot of it didn’t work out. I was really into cool guys. I was into very high school muscular, college muscular dudes. I was just like, If I’m attracted to you, then what’s the problem?”
But did the—let’s call it lack of response—feel like rejection? “I guess, after a certain point,” she says slowly. “After I learned they weren’t checking for me like that, I just kind of stopped caring in that way. That’s not my primary focus. I’ve always been kind of flippant about relationships and men in general.”
And this part:
“At the core of it, Issa is still who she always was,” says Prentice Penny, Insecure’s showrunner. “And in terms of the imagery of a chocolate sister with natural hair being unapologetic about her look, unapologetic about the clothes she wears, unapologetic about her sexuality, I think that is still not the norm.” It’s why Insecure is all about making Black girls and women feel seen, the way Rae felt seen when she saw Kellie Shanygne Williams bring Laura Winslow to life on Family Matters as the ideal girl who was pretty and smart and popular—and brown.
“I’ve definitely thought about middle school me looking through magazines and being perfectly content with the fact that my face wasn’t going to be used to sell makeup; that wasn’t my future,” Rae says now. “I just didn’t imagine that. So the fact that it happened is like, you just never f—ing know. And you should never discount anything. I think so many of us tend to be comfortable with what we’re not and complacent with what we’re not. You really don’t have to be. I didn’t solve world peace or anything—it’s not like that. But something that felt so small and intangible ended up being tangible. And that’s just the coolest thing in the world.”