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“I Want To Be A Pop-culture Staple”: Issa Rae Talks Her Ambitions In New Cosmpolitan Issue

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In a typical Hollywood grass to grace story, Senegalese-American Issa Rae went from writing and starring in her YouTube series to becoming one of the most celebrated black writer and actress.


Recently hailed as the leader of the ‘new black renaissance’, the ‘Insecure’ writer, producer, and star lead is very passionate about helping black creatives in the industry.

issa rae
Photo: Cosmopolitan

As she covers Cosmopolitan May issue in a series of warm sunny bursts of photos reminisce of her effervescent nature, Issa Rae talks about her ambitions and her commitment to driving a strong positive black narrative in the industry.

On her legacy

“I want to be a pop-culture staple—a black pop-culture staple,” she says. “I want to have an impact on my community. Everything I’ve done has been for—and in thinking of—black people, and I don’t take this moment lightly. I want to do right by us, at the end of the day.”

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On giving opportunities to black creatives

She wants to know “who’s hungry” and surround herself with other black creatives so she “can just work. We don’t have to break things down. We understand each other. For me, it’s just about finding who’s got it, who’s got something to say, and who just feels down and with it.”

issa rae

On fear of failing

“Candidly, it’s terrifying,” says Issa, as we talk about buzzy, big projects like The Photograph…“The bigger you are and the more people know your name, the more people you’re stumbling in front of.

On impostor syndrome Issa Rae says

“It almost just feels like I fooled people. Ha, ha, you put me on a magazine cover.” …“The blessing is like, Okay, I can for sure make my own opportunities, and that’s fun,” she explains. “But I also want to be able to…I want to deserve to be here, and that’s part of what keeps me up at night.”

issa rae


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Sarah Oyedo

A reader, thinker, a dreamer and a believer. Fruity cocktails and asun are the way to my heart.

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