Issa Rae is unapologetically Pro-Black, and I love it. About six years ago, when Issa was asked on the Red Carpet of the Emmys who she was rooting for, she said without missing a beat, "I'm rooting for everybody Black." And I'm so here for it!
This #BlackHistoryMonth, I'm celebrating Black women who inspire me to stand in my own freedom because of the ways they express their freedom. Issa Rae's use of joy and humor to celebrate Blackness is inspiring to me. And I'm also inspired by Issa Rae's work to change who gets to tell stories in Hollywood.
Recently, Issa Rae called out Hollywood corporations for their retreat from their DEI commitments. Like the rest of Corporate America, many of the promises made by Hollywood execs to Black people and other people of color are becoming promises broken as they seem less interested in making "diverse stories." (Which is absolutely wild to me since research shows that movies led by people of color and women make more money. https://buff.ly/3SrUPt2. https://buff.ly/3YupO8U It's like they are willing to cut off their noses to spite their faces... but I digress).
Issa said these broken promises are driving her to think about striking out on her own: "“I am pessimistic, because there’s no one holding anybody accountable – and I can, sure, but also at what cost? I can’t force you to make my stuff,” she said. “It’s made me take more steps to try to be independent down the line if I have to.” https://buff.ly/3UoDcwE
I feel this statement from Issa in my bones. There is a cost when we try to advocate for what we deserve and it wears you down. I imagine Issa is dreaming of creating something that truly celebrates her work and the work of other Black creators. I hope she does make her own stuff - the world we be much better for it. Part of the reason I work for myself is because I can create a more liberatory workplace where I (and one day others) can thrive. I'm rooting for every Black woman who wants to find a place where she can soar - even if she has to create it herself.