Throughout Black History Month, we are celebrating important figures in Black History and the scholars whose dreams they help make possible. Issa Rae is an award-winning actress, writer, and producer who personifies Black excellence.
Awkward Black Girl, Business Owner, Community Leader, TV Trailblazer
Lots of people know the feelings of a cringe-worthy romance, disastrous date, and office fallout. But no one can make us laugh about these moments quite like Issa Rae.
In less than a decade, Rae shifted the culture in entertainment. From making way for diversity at her production companies to going against ‘Hollywood traditions’— her career is trailblazing a path for young Black creators. Rae will be the first to remind us, she’s not trying to represent an entire race. In charting a course for other Black creatives to follow, she’s ensuring a diversity of voices share a wide array of the Black experience. Her groundbreaking web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, offers one distinct take. The iconic Insecure shows another. Through it all, Issa Rae is true to her own vision, and to making the shows she wants to make.
Her push for visibility and representation does not start or stop on the television screen.
She’s an advocate and successful business owner committed to providing better opportunities to the Black community and supporting Black business. Rae is a proponent of Destination Crenshaw and she is a co-owner of Inglewood’s Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen. Her goal for both projects is to cultivate Black leadership and ownership within the South Los Angeles community (and beyond).
Issa Rae is Black excellence. She’s about representation, truth, and beauty, and about telling our stories. In an industry that has historically exploited Black creatives and Black talent, Rae is rejecting and reshaping the narrative. She’s a visionary who has already made the future, for all of us, better. And it’s a side bonus that she’s side-splittingly funny.
Zionah, Seventh Grader
When she’s not belting out her favorite tunes from High School Musical 2 or Hamilton, Zionah is most likely finding a way to help her peers. Zionah enjoys all sorts of films, televisions shows, and musicals. Zionah’s favorite parts of the day at AF Endeavor Middle School are times she gets to spend with friends, learn history, and write.
Zionah’s passion for writing directly stems from her love of all things entertainment. She enjoys writing plots and adding twists to stories. And Issa Rae and her body of work are integral in Zionah’s growing media palette. Zionah and her mother’s favorite movie to watch together is Little, a hilarious comedy where Rae deals with her take-no-prisoners boss that turns into a 13-year-old.
In addition to going deeper into Rae’s filmography, Zionah is also inspired by her (Rae’s) ability to help other people. Like Rae, Zionah’s stature and impact extends beyond the script. Zionah helps her friends understand complex math equations and assists her school with spreading the word to new prospective students. Above all else, she supports peers every chance she gets.
During Black History Month and beyond, Zionah wants to continue to see Black excellence. She wants to see Black creators write books, make Broadway musicals, and star in shows and films. She just might be one of them.
For inspiring moments in Black History and American History, follow our social media this month!