ACTOR, WRITER, & ACTIVIST
Issa Rae is an African-American writer, producer, activist and star in the HBO series, Insecure. Issa is known for her hit YouTube series, Awkward Black Girl which debuted on the web platform in 2011.
Issa Rae was born in Los Angeles, CA to parents Dr. Abdoulaye Diop of Senegal and Delyna Diop of Louisiana. Rae's early years were spent in Potomac, MD where she enjoyed activities like swim team and hockey. When she was in sixth grade, her family returned to Los Angeles. In 2007, Issa graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor's degree in African and African-American Studies. During her time at Stanford, Rae created music videos, wrote and directed plays and created a reality show called the Dorm Diaries.
After college, Issa continued pursuing her passions by taking classes at the New York Film Academy. In 2011, Rae debuted her hit YouTube series, Awkward Black Girl. Rae created Awkward Black Girl because she felt Hollywood did not have a diverse portrayal of African-American women and that her voice was missing. The successful YouTube series would lead her to co-create the comedy series Insecure with HBO. Insecure presents an honest window into the lives of Black millennials. The main characters, Issa Dee played by Issa Rae, and Molly played by Yvonne Orji, invite the audience into the most intimate and uncomfortable experiences of young adulthood.
Issa Rae uses her platform to bring awareness about a variety of issues facing the Black community. In 2016, Issa Rae responded to the murder of Alton Sterling by raising over $700,000 dollars toward a college scholarship fund for Sterling's surviving children. Her selflessness and commitment to bringing about positive change makes her a revolutionary activist.
Rae has been featured on Glamour Magazine's "35 Under 35", Forbes' "30 Under 30" and Entertainment Weekly's "Breaking Big" lists. Issa's hit Youtube series, Awkward Black Girl received the coveted Shorty Award for Best Web Show. Issa's first book, a collection of essays, is a New York Times Bestseller and Insecure, the HBO series, earned her a Golden Globe nomination.