#Okay100Women

Who is Issa Rae?

The creator of 'Insecure' and 'Awkard Black Girl' makes OkayAfrica's '100 Women List' celebrating African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

The self-proclaimed “awkward black girl" first captured audiences with her hit web series (The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl), which premiered on YouTube in 2011. Born Jo-Issa Rae Diop to a Senegalese father and an American mother, the LA-native grew up between California, Maryland and Senegal. Rae attended Stanford University where she studied African American studies before beginning a career in the arts.


Awkward Black Girl became a social media phenomenon, garnering over 20 million views on YouTube, and winning the Shorty Award in 2013 for Best Web Show. Issa Rae spun the series into a critically acclaimed novel by the same title, released in 2015.

That same year, HBO picked up the pilot for what was to become the author, producer and show runner's game-changing television show, Insecure. The series premiered in 2016 to rave reviews and it has been picked up for a second season. Rae earned a Golden Globe nomination for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series," for her role as a public school teacher "Issa Dee."

Issa Rae is a brilliant self-starter with a commitment to expanding portrayals of black womanhood on television. When we watch Issa Rae on screen, we get to watch bits of ourselves. Her work gives the awkward amongst us, unprecedented permission to own our quirks and our blackness all at the same time.

-DD

Interview

Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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