Issa Rae May Hold the Key to Truly Unlocking Diversity in Hollywood As Her Media Empire Continues to Grow
There was once a time when Issa Rae was only known as the “Awkward Black Girl” whose hilarious YouTube videos made her a social media sensation. Now, it’s safe to say that her media empire has expanded well beyond the parameters of the web as she embarks on a mission to bring diversity to mainstream media.
Issa Rae now has a New York Times best-seller, an HBO pilot, and an Instagram snap with Oprah to serve as a reminder of just how much her career has flourished since she first made her YouTube debut.
As her already extensive resume continues to grow, she has every intention to help other hard-working Black creatives expand their media empires as well.
“CC.TV (ColorCreative.TV) highlights women and minority writers, and produces their pilots, and gets them an audience, and then packages their content, and showcases them to networks,” she explained to the Huffington Post. “Studio and network executives are taking an interest in content of color. On the surface, that’s great but behind the scenes, they’re still not hiring very many.”
It’s one of the unfortunate realities of the media landscape. Even as Black stars get lead roles, there is still a serious problem with diversity in Hollywood.
When it comes to writers, directors, executives and other roles in Hollywood, Black people are still incredibly scarce.
She also added that the depictions of Black people in mainstream media still don’t offer a lot of variety.
Rae said that she certainly doesn’t “fit in” with the current depictions of blackness as “cool, sassy and trendsetting.”
“I just don’t feel that way,” she added. “It’s almost limited in a way and I feel like Black is so much more than that.”
So while the presence of a no nonsense Cookie in shows like Empire or a fashion-forward problem solver like Olivia Pope in Scandal is nice, there seems to be a void of characters that reach outside those parameters.
Why is there still not an awkward Black girl on TV for the world to relate to?
It’s with that kind of insight that Rae is being hailed as the latest superhero of television and the heroine of diversity.
She is, by all means, a budding media mogul, but her humble spirit still leaves her feeling like she just isn’t doing enough.
Yes, this is still the same woman with 25 million views on her videos, an HBO pilot and selfies with Oprah.
She admitted in an interview with the Huffington Post that she does have a bad habit of getting “down” on herself a lot.
“There’s just a constant feeling of not having enough time to complete what I want to do, feeling like I’m trying to complete too many things at once, and not well,” Rae explained. “And just feeling like I won’t be able to do that and feeling miserable. Not feeling fulfilled at the end of the day.”
Rae says she uses those feelings to motivate herself and conquer her problem with procrastination.
As her career continues to flourish, she just wants people to know that she hasn’t changed.
She has no interest in fame or even fortune.
“I never want to be famous in any way,” she added. “I don’t want to be TMZ famous, where people care. I want to be able to have the same sort of observational humor that I’ve had that people can relate to.”
As for the money, Rae just wants to be “comfortable” and have enough money to bring her projects to life.
“I used to think, I want to be a millionaire by the time I’m thirty,” she added. “Then I realized, well, what would be different? I guess I’ll never know unless I’m there. Maybe I’ll be eating my own words.”