Actor’s Spotlight: Issa Rae (Jo Issa Rae Diop)


American actress, writer, and producer, Jo-Issa Rae Diop, better known as Issa Rae, is taking over television and revolutionizing comedy. Born on January 12, 1985, in Los Angeles, California, Rae’s initial career choice was to follow in her father’s footsteps to become a medical doctor. She quickly realized that medicine was not her passion.

Diop grew up doing things that aren’t normally considered black-related activities, like playing street hockey, being a part of the swim team and eating at Passover dinners with her Jewish friends. Throughout her childhood, she grew up constantly being criticized for not being black enough in the eyes of her peers. She was regularly chastised for “acting white”. This made it incredibly difficult for her especially with her being in a predominantly black school. However, Rae turned being an awkward black girl into a hilarious collection of personal essays which turned into a television series.

Transitioning into her college years, Rae obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 2007. After graduation, she became best known for the web series, The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl’, which portrayed how Hollywood’s stereotypes on African American women limits them. When her web series was made into a television series, which was entitled ‘Insecure’, she contributed as a co-writer and as the executive producer.

She has performed in many TV series, such as ‘The Couple’, ‘True Friendship Society’, and ‘Instacurity’. Rae has also done work as an executive producer for many other TV series such as ‘M.O. Diaries’, ‘How Men Become Dogs’ and ‘Little Horribles’. To show that she’s continuously looking for new talent and new ideas, she created a YouTube channel in order to support upcoming writers.

She has an infectious sense of humor and her fascinating charisma has placed her in some of the elite lists like Glamour Magazine’s ‘35 Under 35’ and ‘Forbes 30 Under 30’. Rae is a recipient of the Vanguard Award which she received at the 10th anniversary of the ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood Awards. With her own combination of creativity and natural ability, Rae’s talent is hard to miss.