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Issa Rae            

Actress, Writer, Director & Producer; Star and Creator of HBO's "Insecure" and "Awkward Black Girl"

Issa Rae is an actor, writer, director and producer. She is best known for creating and starring in the HBO series Insecure and the YouTube web series Awkward Black Girl.

As a child Rae lived in Potomac, Maryland, where she grew up with "things that aren't considered 'black,' like the swim team and street hockey and Passover dinners with Jewish best friends." When she was in sixth grade, her family moved to the affluent View Park-Windsor Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles where she attended a predominantly black middle school, where Rae said she was "berated for 'acting white,'" and initially found it difficult to "fit into this 'blackness' [she] was supposed to be."

Rae graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in African and African-American Studies in 2007. As a college student, she made music videos, wrote and directed plays, and created a mock reality series called Dorm Diaries for fun. She produced and directed four theatrical productions, including two stage adaptations of Spike Lee films.

Since film was her true passion, Issa took time off from Stanford to attend the New York Film Academy where she honed her filmmaking skills. She received a theater fellowship at The Public Theater in New York City. Rae worked odd jobs, and at one point was struggling to decide between business school and law school, but eventually abandoned both ideas when Awkward Black Girl started taking off in 2011.

Issa's web series Awkward Black Girl premiered on YouTube in 2011. The show follows the life of J (played by Issa) as she interacts with co-workers and love interests who place her in uncomfortable situations. The story is told through a first-person narrative, as J usually reveals how she feels about her circumstances through voice-over or dream sequence.

The series eventually went viral through word of mouth, blog posts, and social media, resulting in mainstream media coverage and attention. The web series has been featured on several sites and publications, including CNN, NBC, BET.com, Vibe, Huffington Post, Essence Magazine and more.

Rae eventually partnered up with Pharrell and premiered season two of the series on his YouTube channel, iamOTHER. She also began releasing other content on her original channel, predominantly created by and starring people of color. The channel has garnered over 40 million video views and over 430,000 subscribers on YouTube.

In 2013, Awkward Black Girl won a Shorty award for Best Web Show. Rae says that she created Awkward Black Girl because she felt that the Hollywood stereotypes of African-American women were limiting and she couldn't relate to them:

"I've always had an issue with the assumption that people of color, and black people especially, aren't relatable. I know we are."

Rae's first book, a memoir titled The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl was released with Simon & Schuster in 2015. In the book, she chronicles her life through a series of humorous anecdotes and opens up about her personal struggle with not fitting in, and not being considered "black enough" at times.

Issa started working on a comedy series project with Larry Wilmore in 2013. The HBO series was named Insecure and stars Rae. The series focuses on the life of an awkward, twenty-something black woman. Since its release in 2016, the series has received critical acclaim. For her work on Insecure, she has received two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

The success of Insecure has made Issa an in-demand actress in Hollywood. She is set to star in a number of projects and feature length films, including Little, The Lovebirds, The Photograph, Empress of Serenity and American Princess.

News


Issa Rae, Creator Of 'Awkward Black Girl', Felt Like Her Voice Was ...

If you don't know Issa Rae's name yet, you should -- and you will. The 28-year-old actress and writer is best known for her web series,"The Misadventures of ...

HBO Developing Comedy Series From Larry Wilmore & Issa Rae To ...

EXCLUSIVE: Larry Wilmore and Issa Rae have teamed to co-write a comedy series project for HBO, with Rae set to star. The project focuses on the awkward ...

Issa Rae Backs New Webseries That Aims To Show Black Women ...

Our favorite 'Awkward Black Girl' Issa Rae is on a roll dishing out project after project. Not only is she working on an HBO series, and starring in a few webseries, ...

Issa Rae Pokes Some Fun at the Black Church With The Choir

Issa Rae may have hit the big time with an HBO deal to co-write (with Larry Wilmore) and star in her own series, but she hasn't completely abandoned her roots ...

Issa Rae to Star in Rom-Com 'American Princess' – Variety

"Insecure" creator and star Issa Rae will topline Fox's romantic comedy " American Princess" from director Stella Meghie.

Issa Rae Talks About Her White Audience, Shonda Rhimes and ...

Issa Rae opens up about "Insecure's" white audience, Shonda Rhimes as an inspiration and the abundance of male nudity on her show.

Issa Rae Is on the 2018 TIME 100 List | Time.com

On a Friday a few years ago, I was asked to blurb a new book, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. The title made me laugh, so I read it on Saturday, loved ...

Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae to Star in 'Lovebirds' Romantic Comedy ...

Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae will topline Paramount's romantic comedy " Lovebirds" with "The Big Sick" helmer Michael Showalter on board.

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