Despite the crazy twists and turns 2020 has already thrown at the world, there are still things that you can look forward to—especially for pop culture aficionados and fans of the dynamic Issa Rae.
Just recently, Netflix announced that they are bringing the actress’ much-anticipated romantic comedy Lovebirds to their platform. Apart from giving you a good laugh during the ongoing lockdown, the buzz around this film shows that Rae is truly making her mark on the film industry.
Rae is no stranger to the big screen. In March, she starred alongside Lakeith Stanfield in the romantic drama The Photograph, which was highly-rated by our resident critic Fiona Underhill. On top of this, she’s also been credited in other critically acclaimed features like The Hate U Give and Hair Love. Despite her stellar filmography, Rae’s film career is just getting started. Moreover, the film industry is just the latest field that Rae is set to dominate.
Born in Los Angeles, one could say that Rae’s life was destined for stardom. But her journey to film success had quite the colourful start — from growing up in a predominantly white neighbourhood in Maryland, to relocating to California in a Black and Latino community. In an interview with The Guardian, Rae shared that she struggled with the cultural shift she experienced when she was young. “I’ve experienced that real sense of feeling out of place plenty in my life,” she revealed.
The constant reinvention of herself laid the groundwork for entering the industry. And as she channelled her delightful humour and quick wit, she was able to launch the YouTube series Awkward Black Girl in 2011, which amassed millions of viewers. This ultimately paved the way for her breakout role in the HBO hit series Insecure, which she also co-created. As she gained critical and commercial recognition for her comedic prowess, it was clear that Rae cemented herself as a star in Hollywood.
Rae has the powerful ability of approaching serious topics with a sense of lightness and jest that cuts through the noise, without downplaying her (often very racial and politically-charged) key message — and it works. This is also why she has become so popular with the UK audience in recent years. In fact, here in the UK, a good joke tops Gala Bingo’s list of ultimate pick-me-ups, with about 40% of Brits saying that something funny can instantly change their mood for the better. So, it’s no wonder that Rae has become such a big hit in the UK recently. And during these tough times, this proves that humour can be a powerful tool in bringing important issues to the forefront, thus allowing it to be embraced by many.
She made an essential decision to represent black women as far from the angry stereotype they’ve had to deal with for the longest time. The BBC actually notes that this hurtful trope traces all the way back to the 19th century, which contributed to audiences often not taking their issues seriously. Fortunately, Rae has successfully catapulted black women into their well-deserved position as impactful members of society, and helped others see them beyond the clichés. Referring to the representation of black people in films, Rae shares, “I just don’t believe in things being race-less. By nature of the country that we live in, the world we live in, that just feels impossible.”
Rae recently landed the lead role in acclaimed writer B.J. Novak’s directorial debut Vengeance alongside Ashton Kutcher. Although the film industry is currently on pause due to the ongoing pandemic, you can certainly expect Rae to grace the cinema screens once again in the future.