Issa Rae: ‘Black women are at the bottom of the desire chain, the dating totem pole’

Black Girls Rock 2017

Here are some photos of Issa Rae at this weekend’s Black Girls Rock! event. She wore a Leilou by Aleksandra Dojcinovic dress on the red carpet, and I kind of hate this dress on her. The cut is fine, but the color does nothing for her. Issa seems to be everywhere these days, as the second season of her HBO show, Insecure, has gained an even bigger audience now that the show has a lead-in from Game of Thrones (minus Ballers). Issa recently chatted with the Guardian about what she’s doing with the show, how she doesn’t see the show as particularly political, and why she’s trying to show the real-life struggle of what it’s like to date as a black woman. You can read the full piece here, and here are some highlights:

‘Insecure’ is not a Trump-era show: “I don’t want the stench of the current administration on this show. I don’t want people to look back and be like: ‘Oh, this was a Trump show.’ I want them to look back and say Insecure was an Obama show. Because it is: Obama enabled this show…. Culturally, Obama made blackness so present, and so appreciated; people felt seen and heard; it influenced the arts, and it absolutely influenced how I see blackness, how I appreciate it. When a black president is a norm, it enables us to be, too.”

She wants to show normal life: “I just wanted to see my friends and I reflected on television, in the same way that white people are allowed, and which nobody questions. Nobody watches Divorce [a HBO stablemate, starring Sarah Jessica Parker] and asks: ‘What is the political element, what is the racial element driving this?’”

She loved black sitcoms like Moesha, Girlfriends and A Different World. “Then they disappeared,. Somewhere along the way, being white became seen as ‘relatable’, and you started to see people of colour only reflected as stereotypes or specific archetypes. So much of the media now presents blackness as being cool, or able to dance, or fierce and flawless, or just out of control; I’m not any of those things.”

Intersectional insecurities: “These are questions that we constantly have to ask ourselves, as minorities, or double minorities, or triple minorities. In terms of the intersectionality of it all, you are constantly asking yourself: ‘Which part of me is being discriminated against? Which part of me is being targeted? If not all parts of me.’”

Dating in the current era: “Black women are at the bottom of the desire chain, of the dating totem pole; we’re not the trophies. In rap culture, especially, there’s always an idea that once you achieve an amount of success, your trophy is the white girl on your arm.” However, she asserts, that’s not limited to hip-hop. “It’s not scientifically proven, but there’s evidence, in dating apps for example, that we’re the last to be chosen, the least desirable.”

Being compared to Lena Dunham: “I get the inclination to compare us because we’re both young women, but the stories we’re telling couldn’t be more different.”

[From The Guardian]

There’s also a lengthy discussion on WEB Dubois’s concept of “double consciousness,” which is defined as the “psychological challenge of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of a white society.” Issa talks about how she originally conceived the show as just something for herself and her friends, but now that she’s working for HBO, she’s constantly wondering about how the white executives will react, and how a non-black audience will react, etc. I think she’s still coming to terms with the fact that if a show is honest, interesting and well-written, it will suddenly move from “niche audience” to “relatable.”

As for that, I relate to the question “Which part of me is being discriminated against? Which part of me is being targeted? If not all parts of me.” I’ve been feeling that more and more since Trump was elected too.

Black Girls Rock 2017

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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115 Responses to “Issa Rae: ‘Black women are at the bottom of the desire chain, the dating totem pole’”

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  1. Giulia says:

    I’m from the era where black women were desired exotics. A contrast to the prevailing beauty ideal of the WASP cashmere blond. Ha. Now it’s what, asian women? Kardashians? I’ve lost track. Never base your inner worth on the American media’s object du jour. All I can say is, there are going to a lot of dissapointed old ladies with butt and lip implants and gummy bear perfume.

    • Suki says:

      Agree. People try to mould themselves to what’s ‘in fashion’ but true beauty (regardless of race or country of origin) is true beauty.

    • INeedANap says:

      What I find confounding is that Rae’s facial structure is absolutely stunning — her face is all ANGLES and CHEEKBONES and EYES and she really does fall under the “classically beautiful” label. It’s wild that certain folk would think her less than.

      • perplexed says:

        Yeah, she’s really pretty.

      • Ange says:

        Absolutely. I think she’s one of the most gorgeous women on TV right now. I think she’s more attractive than the woman who plays her friend who is (I think) meant to be the ‘prettier’ one.

    • Nik says:

      I love this comment so much.

  2. Nicole says:

    Everything she says here is true. Black women are either not desired or seen as a niche fetish by some men. It makes dating super difficult. The double consciousness thing is so real. Sometimes you have to think about how your white friends will react to what you are saying. Most times these days I no longer try to filter myself.

    • BlueSky says:

      Very true. Black women are not seen as desirable, a lot of times by black men. It is very frustrating. I remember when I was on a
      dating website and I was surprised by how many white guys were reaching out to me. Then I thought “was it because they thought I was attractive or is it some sort of fantasy they wanted to fulfill?” Black women are constantly being pressured to conform to the European standard of beauty. As a black woman, you never feel like you are good enough because you don’t fit into that mold. Watching the documentary “Dark Girls” only reinforced my belief of how black women are viewed.

      • Strange world says:

        I find it sad that you perceive yourself that way when there is a multi billion dollar industry that was created specifically to uphold white supremacy and make you feel less than.
        If I am so ugly, as a black woman, then why the need to enforce negative stereotypes and push an agenda?
        If something is so obvious and so true, then why the need to constantly tell people via media? The biggest propaganda tool today.
        If it is true then why am I seeing women of other races chopping themselves up, filling their lips and butts and risking skin cancer?
        Sometimes I feel like I live in the twilight zone.

        Also, I haven’t had any issues with men and dating. I will say this though, I got a lot more interest from men in Europe and it makes sense because they don’t constantly get propaganda images of black women shoved down their throats and tend to see you as an individual. This has been my personal experience from living there.
        Everyone has different experiences, I just wish when black women talk about it they could say Me, My, mine, I and self, instead of grouping us all in together.

        As for black males, they have their own issues. A lot of them have self loathing/hating issues that is too much for me to get into here. But alot of MOC have these issues that they take out on and project onto the women of their said group. White women as status symbols because white men hold power = status.

      • Nicole says:

        Bluesky I’ve never seen that documentary. Is it available somewhere that you know of?
        But yes black women are often disrespected across the board. That’s why I like insecure because it speaks to a lot of issues we deal with. It’s why I liked Lemonade. Girlfriends. A different world. Living single. No one understands this experience like anothe black woman.

      • ORIGINAL T.C. says:



        Preach! I used to be so insecure growing up as I tried to get attention from Black guys. Then I hit college, got into my studies and stopped checking for them mainly because us Black people in general were super minorities in those science classes. To my surprise I realized a lot of non-Black guys were checking for me. Started interracial dating and never went back to questioning my attractiveness. Currently in a long term relationship with the love of my life who is white, has the same family background and core beliefs.

        When I get questionable looks from *some* white & Black women about my natural hair and apparent convince in myself, I just keep it moving! LOL.

        It’s really sad that Issa Rae had to start her own show for us to have a Brown skin girl with Black hair as opposed to regular programming where to play a Black girl/woman you have to be mixed or light enough to pass the brown paper bag test AND have good hair. Black and White TV shows go with that propaganda.

      • WTW says:

        @Bluesky, I really did not like the movie “Dark Girls.” I felt it reinforced stereotypes and did not deconstruct them nor did it offer much of a portrait of dark-skinned black women raised to love themselves. I don’t think a documentary about self-hating black women really serves much of a purpose. I am a dark-skinned black woman (around Gabrielle Union’s complexion) and did not grow up hating myself. My family told me I was beautiful. Non-family members told me I was beautiful. Black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American men have all pursued me romantically. I say this because I’m really troubled by how often people want to discuss self-hate and internalized racism and the OK Cupid study instead of self-loving beautiful black women who know their worth. I took part in a panel discussion a few years ago, and this Latinx woman brought up the online dating study for no apparent reason other than to mention black women being undesirable. It was not the topic of discussion, and I was the only black person there. Oh, and I just happened to show up to the event with my attractive white husband, while she was and is unmarried. Yet, I’m undesirable? Whatever. I really think we should spent more time celebrating the beauty of black women rather than constantly discussing that society thinks we’re all hideously ugly. This is a sexist, racist talking point.

      • Strange world says:

        ORIGINAL T.C. & WTW

        Agree with you both! It’s so nice to see others who get it.
        I get super passionate about these things and come on a bit strong lol and my comments get lengthy but you sum up what I feel.
        Thanks girls!

    • BlueSky says:

      @Nicole I saw it on Netflix. Highly recommend.

  3. Shelley says:

    Dress would be spectacular in another color that complemented her skin tone.
    I really think you have to love yourself because society continues to rewrite the recipe for all groups constantly about size and color. It’s impossible to keep up with images . I cringed after reading the comments about Usher’s accuser. He was ruled innocent simply because she was fat and the unfiltered version of her did not match her social media pictures.

    • fubar says:

      Do you remember what happened to Usher’s wife.? She caught hell for years because his fans thought she was not pretty enough, light enough, young enough, thin enough. Every interview he gave, it sounded like he was apologizing for loving a woman who did not fit into who people thought he should love. I feel sorry for this young woman who is accusing Usher. She will catch hell because of her size

      • Caly says:

        Right! I remember the comments about Tameka ( too dark, too old, too muscular, manly looking, he’s got too many “beautiful” women available to him to pick her. ) but I always found her so beautiful even now 10 years later she’s still beautiful without getting any work (that I know of).
        The worst part of this is that most of those comments came from black people. Some black ppl really believe that lighter is better, I have some relatives who played favorites between my mixed and lighter cousins and the rest of us, It’s so sad.

  4. Rice says:

    Kaiser, thank you for this article. As a black woman, I relate to everything Issa said, especially about the black sitcoms. I’ve not seen Insecure yet, but I’ve read a few of her interviews. She’s kept it real and honest, and I am absolutely digging it. Incidentally, Jay-Z produced a short (?) called Moonlight. I recommend that everybody watch it.

    • Nyawira says:

      Honestly Jay Zs Moonlight should get its own post. So much magic in the video and the song lyrics too. Maybe then the white minIvan contingency here will understand why he is held in high regard despite being as they keep saying “a bad rapper”

      • LAK says:

        I cancelled Jay Z after seeing his girls video from back in the day. Every woman in that video was beautiful until he came to the *African woman and used that Eddie Murphy bush African woman stereotype as the representation of an African woman.

        *African as in from Africa NOT a black African American.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I canceled him when he failed to explain or apologize for his anti-Semitic lyrics for the second time. Russell Simmons can say all he wants but Jay Z is the one who said it. This kind of stereotyping is what fuels bigotry and supremacist groups.

        2007: “Had to get some challah bread so you can holla back. My Jewish lawyer too enjoyed the fruit of letting my cash stack.”
        Nice. Money and a greedy lawyer and challah all in one.

        2017: “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit / You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This is how they did it.”
        Money again.
        In this climate when the dog whistling is loud and clear from the White House including the dismissal of the Statue of Liberty’s poem that was written by a Jewish woman. I don’t expect it from someone who should know better.

      • LAK says:

        Magnoliarose: i didn’t know that. I deliberately avoid anything Jay Z sinve i cancelled him unless it’s in my unavoidably in my face.

      • Jess says:

        I love Jay-Z. He’s the best!

      • Artemis says:

        I feel like Jay Z is still exactly the same as he used to be. He always demeaned women in his lyrics referring them to ‘bitch’, even his own wife whom he can barely name except for ‘B’. He’s always cheated and used women as props and side chicks who can be easily discarded and discredited because of the power he holds. He even admitted he’s insecure as nobody wanted his fugly ass when he wasn’t famous and he’s got the fugly personality to match as he got older, richer and more powerful.

        Jay Z is just cashing in on this ‘woke era’ to stay relevant. Just like he used Kanye when his talent as a producer outshone his and then discarded the man moving on to the next person/trend. I highly doubt that based on his new album where he admits he ended up loving and respecting his wife on a deeper just recently after spending almost 2 decades together, this man is capable of any real emotion.

        And I’m a black woman who used to see some good in him but have woken up since Lemonade and 4:44 (plus with what I already knew about his past that I stupidly overlooked). The man is just not a good human being.

      • Kay says:

        Oh please. Drake is the same way and you love him.

      • Bitsy says:

        @Niyawira JayZ should never be held in high regard for so so many reasons, #1 being his perpetuating the violent misogynist colorist culture of hip hop that had influenced too many young black men.
        I ❤ Bey, but her feminist stance is bull because a feminist would never ever date marry and thus condone what he is selling.

  5. Megan says:

    I love her show and I am glad it’s getting so much buzz this season, Issa is brilliant.

  6. Mogul says:

    I don’t like most celebrities, to be honest abhor the majority of them, but Issa I like because she’s reminds of all the black girls I grew up with.

    • HadToChangeMyName says:

      And I like how honest the show is, i.e. how one speaks at work versus how one speaks with their girlfriends. I grew up in the South Bronx and we definitely have a lingo that we have to “turn down” when in other settings. She flips back and forth with her bestie and I like that.

  7. Deee says:

    I am really pale, i can’t say i “hate” my skin but i do feel paranoid about it especially in summer when you kind of have to show some. I always feel paranoid and less attractive next to my tanned and poc friends. And i always feel the guys are checking them out and not me. Lol i don’t really know what i am trying to say except fk everybody who makes any of us feel less than

    Disclaimer. I realise i don’t have racism to deal with and am priviliged as a white woman.

    • snowflake says:

      I understand what you are saying. I’m not super pale but I’m fair skinned. I get so tired of people saying, “you’re so white,” no really, I had no idea. I think it bothers them more than me. I do look better with a tan, but I’m not going to lay out and get skin cancer. Sometimes I use sunless Tanner, but you have to apply it every few days and I’m too lazy to do it regularly. I love getting sorry tans but it’s so expensive. Our “ideal” is supposed to be blond, tan, and skinny. I’m so jealous of women with an olive skin tone

    • tealily says:

      I remember one time having what passes as a tan for me and saying to someone “right now I’m…,” planning to finish the sentence with “pretty tan” when my friend interrupted me with “so pale.” Eh. What are you gonna do?

    • nicegirl says:

      Dee and Snowflake: me, too. My ‘blindingly white’, ‘mayonnaise legs’ and ‘moontan’ colored skin has not been lauded for its beauty where I have lived either – I am not sure why people think they should inform me of my skin color. It seems to bother people a lot, especially when I wear clothing that exposes my legs.

      Last weekend, at the river, a man literally yelled out loud “oh my God your legs are white” when I walked past him on the beach. I said, “Can you imagine if you said that same remark to someone with a different skin color?” Although I know it is NOT the SAME, it is still not ok. His friend bumbled an apology attempt, informing me that ‘redheads have pale skin’, but I was busy walking away. I’m so happy someone told me that folks with red hair have a tendency to have fairer skin, now I understand the disgust!

      Stop commenting about people’s skin color. I understand it is not racist to tell a white girl that her legs are too white, but it is still RUDE. Why you gotta be so rude?

      I do not comment on other folks’ physicality. It is not appropriate. People do not need or particularly enjoy others commenting on their obesity, skin color, hair style, distance between their eye sockets, shape of their nose, foot size, etc – and it has never been appropriate to do so to someone’s face. Like, if you see someone who is obese, immediately do you comment to them, “My goodness, you’re fat!” ??? Absolutely not appropriate to comment on folks’ physicality. QUIT IT. If you don’t like how someone looks, turn your head.

      I have stopped trying to be tan, I stopped years ago. It did not work. I have melanoma now.

      It is so stupid. SOOOO stupid to have these ridiculous beauty ideals – many of us trying to be something we are not, to our own detriment.

      I try to embrace inner beauty now. In terms of physical beauty, it may be my only hope.

    • Fiorucci says:

      Deee I wouldn’t worry about it in terms of getting a dAte / relationship. Though others could perhaps weigh in. Every had a guy want you to tan, or not lose your tan because he didn’t like your white skin? I still find darker legs nice to look at but I’m way past worrying that if only I were tanner I would attract different guys. I have dated more MOC than white guys though, and in some cultures, as is often discussed here, being very white is not bad.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      I’m a pale and freckled ginger. I don’t tan. I’m practically transparent. And I still have it way easier than those of color.

    • pinetree13 says:

      I have always been criticized for my pale skin and have always wondered why criticizing someone for being pale is seen as being acceptable when criticizing someone for acne, body-weight, etc. would be seen as rude. Like why is that okay???? I’m sick of it.

    • deevia says:

      So you feel it’s appropriate to come on a thread about black women and make it all about yourself? Not today Satan.

      • nicegirl says:

        really, “Satan”? WOW. That is a BIT much. This is a comment section, for all.

        How does any comment in this thread negate anything in the article above?

        Issa Rae is a stunningly beautiful woman, and I am not arguing with her statements about dating.

        I understand that people with lighter skin are privileged on our planet and I do not agree with that at all.

  8. Lolo86lf says:

    Being a gay Hispanic male in the Trump era makes me feel a little more aware that I do not belong in his world. I am not a rich white straight male so I am less desirable in their eyes.

    • Esmom says:

      I hear you but…do you want to be more desirable in their racist, xenophobic eyes anyway? I think the reality is that they don’t belong in today’s world. They are frightened by anyone who doesn’t look like them but the world won’t stop for them. Scary as they are right now in power, they are a dying breed.

    • deevia says:

      @ESMOM: they will just invite Hispanics to come over and sit at the “white” table eventually. Just like the Irish, the Scandinavian and the Italian. Don’t be deceived by these WASPs and the desperation for power.

  9. adastraperaspera says:

    I like what Issa said about it being an Obama show. I heard her interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, and it was great. Her remarks reminded me of shows like Living Single, which I loved.

  10. Izzy says:

    Her show is a zillion times better than Girls.

  11. Abby says:

    I feel like what she’s saying is so important for the world to hear. I don’t watch a lot of tv right now, but I need to check her show out.

    Every day I am realizing how important Obama was to our country and particularly PoC. That’s my privilege, not knowing, and I wish I’d appreciated him more while he was in office. Really unfortunate that things are so vastly different under Trump.

    • HadToChangeMyName says:

      I think we all made the mistake of believing that Obama was the floor, not the ceiling. In other words, that things would get even better now that he’d been in office. No one counted on someone coming in and trying to undo all the progress for all of us, except white males.

    • Esmom says:

      I feel like I/we appreciated Obama immensely. What I wish I’d been able to do was somehow take the Trump threat more seriously, realize that people were going to actually vote for him, and be a part of stopping it.

      • HadToChangeMyName says:

        I tried to tell everyone I knew what a threat Trump was, but no one thought he would actually win. When I see the people who didn’t vote for Hillary (or didn’t vote at all) because she wasn’t a “perfect” candidate, I want to punch them in the throat.

      • Lynnie says:

        @HTCMN I totally agree with you on wanting to punch them. I find that asking them about how important the emails are now in the face of what’s happening now though, is almost as good at making them uncomfortable.

      • Esmom says:

        Yeah, I hope those people have learned their lesson and we’ll see it reflected in 2018 and 2020. Who knows, though.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I can’t stand anyone who didn’t vote or threw it away. Now we have a Klan Grand Dragon as our AG and neo Nazis with power positions. They are stacking the courts every single day. Polluting our environment and plan to rig elections to stay in power.

    • Abby says:

      Yep, agree with all of you. I didn’t vote for Trump–can’t stand him–but every day he just is worse than I feared. I don’t see how he can last 4 years, but I didn’t think he’d get elected either.

    • Mermaid says:


  12. Juno says:

    I have been watching Issa since she was a youtube star, and I think she and Insecure reflect LA culture, while Lena dunham/girls is about brooklyn culture.

    Anyway, about the only thing the two shows have in common is the women are not perfect people, and both Issa and Lena mine their real lives for their shows.

    • WTW says:

      Juno, I don’t think “Insecure” does a great job reflecting LA culture. From watching the show, you would think there are way more black people who live in the city than actually do. Blacks are the third smallest racial group. Yet, there are blacks everywhere on that show. I don’t mean just her close friends and boyfriend but when they’re going out or who they run into. One of the common experiences of living here as a black Angeleno is not seeing many people who look like you. I went to Oakland a few months ago, and I was like, “Wow, every other person is black.” I feel the same when I visit a place like Chicago or Detroit. In L.A., you have to go to certain hubs to get an African-American vibe, but I can’t tell that all from watching “Insecure.” They have no Asians or Latinos in major roles in the show, when I see more of them in LA than white or black people by far.

  13. rachel says:

    Love the dig at Lena Dunham. And yes Issa is right when you’re a black woman and ready to date you have to face black men who are going to find you not light skinned enough, hair to nappy… If you start dating outside of your race, you have to make sure that they don’t fetichize you, and if everything is going well, you’re going have to worry about the look of the same black men who didn’t to date you but who are now judging you for not dating a black man.

    • Strange world says:

      Liking black women’s skin/looks in general = fetish.
      That seems to be a theme I run into for some odd reason, and it mainly comes from black women. Liking dark skin and the way it looks, or hair that is kinky/curly etc is not a fetish.
      There are men who love blond hair and only date women with blond hair but no one accuses them of having a fetish.
      Sorry, but is something that has been annoying me for awhile. Again, this is mainly coming from other black women who are scared for some reason and who have never dated out of their race.i just find it sad. Black women self segregate a lot so they tend to view ‘others’ as alien.

      • Tiffany says:

        You are full of crap and then some. I see your white supremacists shining through.

      • rachel says:

        Strange World@ “You have to make sure” implies that it’s not systematic but it happened. And I’m sorry but colorism is real thing, if a man approached and told you that he only dated light skinned girls you wouldn’t find it weird? It’s obviously deeper than just dating what you like. Also this comparison between skin colour and hair colour, I don’t get it. There’s a whole world between dating someone who claim liking a certain hair colour on women and someone who is only attracted to a certain skin colour on black women.

      • Strange world says:

        Rachel, I wasn’t referring to that part of your comment, sorry for the misunderstanding.
        I just focused on the fetish part, but yes, absolutely colorism is real! I have been on the receiving end of it unfortunately from black men.
        Colorism is toxic and dangerous and I take it very seriously.

        To go back to the fetish part….I feel like a lot of people do not know what fetish actually means.
        Obviously, if a guy is only focused on your skin color and only date you because of it, is messed up but if a guy likes darker skin AS WELL as other qualities you have as an individual, that is not a fetish and that is what I meant with my comment.

  14. Enough Already says:

    I used to think black women weren’t seen as desirable but now I’m 43 and I can amend that view: we’re desired but men don’t want to admit it because of social norms. In my experience I receive the most attention from men outside my race when they happen to be successful, older, powerful and/or extremely intelligent or artistic. I never understood why until I realized their ego/self-esteem meant they had zero fucks to give about their “image”. They wanted to date whomever they wanted to date. Racism is perpetuated by the weak and insecure.

    • Strange world says:

      So true. This has been my experience as well.
      I’m in my twenties but I have always been an independent thinker and have always questioned things from an early age.
      You start to see a pattern and then you can’t unsee it.

    • Enough Already says:

      My friends used to tease me about always dating “winners” but once I understood that it was no coincidence it gave me hope lol. To other black women I would just say know your worth, ignore the hate and shine, shine shine. That confidence and soul-deep beauty will eventually and always bring the right partner into your unique space.

    • Honey says:

      Enough all ready and Strange world, I totally agree with you both. I’m a black woman married to a black man, but in the past, I received attention from and dated outside of my race. Plenty of men date who they attracted to and it has nothing to do with race. Blaming racism for everything makes us look weak and insecure when we should be strong and proud. When some said white people didn’t like Beyonces tacky picture just because she’s black, that was weak.

      Strange world, all of your comments here were the same as what I was thinking. I also rather people say ‘me,mine,I or my’ not ALL of us, because not everyone in a race feels the same as each other and we should each speak for ourselves

    • Enough Already says:

      Wellsaid ladies! A little louder for the people in the back.

    • DragonWise says:

      Let the church say amen!

    • ORIGINAL T.C. says:

      @Enough Already:

      Had the same experience. Smart, secure and independent men.

  15. milla says:

    This made me tear up. Whyyyyyyy? So why can’t women stick together? Ok, u cannot support any idiot selfie celebrety, from paris to kim and chyna… But in real life. Why would you judge or mess up with some woman for her skin color? I know that im old wnough to understand but i can’t. Woman is a woman. We are different yet the same. Difference has less than zero to do with skin color. Im gonna ugly cry. Cos i cannot help you. I wanna know how. I wanna help. I am not anyones prize and no woman should be.

  16. Alissa says:

    I’m half-white, half-Cherokee, but can pass as white (although people tend to think I’m Latina if my hair isn’t straightened). I love love love this show! Not for any political or racial reason, but because it’s funny and real and the characters are complex and interesting. I also loved Atlanta. stories can be interesting no matter who they depict, as long as they’re well written.

    • magnoliarose says:

      I don’t choose shows based on race but on writing and acting. This show is funny and love her. I feel like she is someone I know and hang out with.

  17. Lynnie says:

    I totally agree about her black sitcoms observation. Thank goodness for DVRs and nostalgia channels, because they’re all I watch lol. Since everything comes back in cycles I’m hopeful that a new crop of black entertainment will come too.

    I don’t know what else to add that hasn’t already been said. It’s such a multifaceted discussion, and a good majority of the factors involved don’t want to have it. I’m glad there are shows like Insecure that can keep it going though.

    As for my personal dating experiences lol I’ve just kind of given up. Gross guys who like fetishizing are the only ones who overtly go for me. The ones I’m interested in only seem to conveniently reciprocate when they’re drunk/or at a party. I grew up in a white neighborhood/went to white schools so I’m “too white” for my black male counterparts, and I’m “too black” for the male white ones. In all it’s just a mess. My parents are always joking about how they’re gonna send me back to Nigeria (we’re from there) to find myself a traditional boy, but I might be taking them up on that offer in a few years at this rate lmao

    • Tan says:

      Replace black with Indian and thats me.

      I feel that if you are someone with a leg in both the worlds, you can no longer be categorized and it takes someone really strong and secure to appreciate that. If you are professionally successful then it becomes even more difficult.

    • jugil1 says:

      @Lynnie, you just wait for the right one girl. There will be someone who will appreciate YOU & all of the gifts you have to offer. It will take time but anything worth waiting for does. *Hugs*

  18. BJ says:

    I remember watching a segment on some show (maybe 20/20 or Dateline) the topic was popular dating sites.It said after talking to people who run these sites ,black women and asian men, consistently get the least interest from people seeking a dating partner.This was a few years ago but I wonder if those 2 groups are still the “least desired” groups on new dating apps(mainstream)

    • kibbles says:

      It’s pretty obvious that black women and Asian men are not regularly portrayed in the media as sex symbols. Usually they are white men, and occasionally black men, with an Asian woman or a light skinned Latina who looks more European. It’s very sad but this is the state that we are in today. Asian women, (thin) white women, and white men are at the top of the dating totem pole for various reasons.

  19. frigga says:

    I’ve heard a lot of men say really degrading and disgusting things about black women, so I get what she is saying. Fear, stereotyping, and racism all play a big part.

    • Strange world says:

      There is a thin line between love and hate.
      There are things I absolutely loath and damn near hate, but I don’t go online and spend my time creating hateful memes, gifs, and write essay pages of how much I hate everything about this particular thing/person/food/whatever and dissect everything about it.

    • Honey says:

      I’ve heard lots of men say degrading and disgusting things about all women

      • Millie says:

        Why is it that when black women try to specifically have a conversation about our unique and very valid experience of oppression, people have to come around and invalidate and make light of said experience by saying ‘all women’? We weren’t talking about all women, in this case, we were talking specifically about black women. These ish ain’t slick. I am really tired of dismissive comments like this.

      • Honey says:

        I am a black woman.

      • Millie says:

        Then you should know the importance of not derailing and going on about other women than anyone else in my opinion.

      • Anna says:

        Thank you @Honey

  20. Tiffany says:

    I like Issa, a lot. I want to make a recommendation to follow her on Instagram. She had a Instastory yesterday, where she talked about rumors going around about her bleaching her skin, losing too much weight and her romantic links. Then she had a big smile on her face and said, ‘That means I made it’. That is just a taste of what you get from her. She is great.

  21. Enough Already says:

    I would also add that as a woc you quickly learn to weed out the toxic people in your life when it comes to this. I’ve seen it all: white girls who go from bff to hair tossing harpies the minute the cute white guys show up, the liberal parents who are so excited their son is dating you they want to trot you out to every cocktail party/boozy lunch/book club meeting they can get together, the white guys who are into you because they’re mad at mummy, have been reading a lot of Baldwin or they need their white chocolate bro card punched. Sigh. I could write a book lol.

  22. Svea says:

    Living in an urban area, it seems the only couples I see anymore are Asian woman with white or black men. It is as though they are the only ones who get to marry and have kids due to some collective decision by men. So I was just thinking about where black women fit in the totem pole. I agree with Issa.

    • Justjj says:

      I do a lot of undercover research into creepy misogynist reddit pages like The Red Pill and the Pick Up Artist community and I also read Return of Kings from time to time. It helps me be aware of the truly horrifying misogyny out there and reminds me why I need to show up and fight. I also hope it will help me inform my daughter one day and that I can help her not fall into some of the traps I fell into.

      One thing I’ve observed recently is that they almost universally fetishize and idealize East Asian women and particularly South East Asian women or specifically women from Korea or Japan. It’s so gross. They reinforce every ancient, negative stereotype about Asian women. That they are submissive and sexually adventurous, etc. Not that all men who date Asian girls think this way obviously but some guys I’ve observed talk about it like it’s a trend. It’s like they walk around the city with this smug look on their face like “Look how woke and cool I am, dating this Asian woman” At the same time, these sites bash “fat, loud” ‘American’ women (since there are no Asian American women) and are unsurprisingly horrid and racist against black women as well as white women whom they now refer to as “feminazis” … you get the picture. I can’t visit those sites often because it’s too easy to just think all men are subhuman racist scum that want the human race to go back to cave painting, but I see Issas point.

      There is SO much bias and racial bias in the dating realm these days. And I don’t know what it is. Is it Trump era bullshit? Is it a backlash of some kind that has to do with asserting male power? Not that people haven’t always been racist but as a previous poster said, it’s like all the douchebags gather in a secret lair and then make these decisions. It is as though there’s a hierachy of desirability. I don’t think she’s trying to continue a baseless narrative that black women are last on the racist douchebag acceptability spectrum. I think there’s some truth there.

      I love the show precisely because it challenges the narrative that women don’t have power in daily life with men and in the dating world. Issa is sexy and fierce on the show but she is also so normal and relatable and funny. She is stunning on a completely superficial note! It’s a great show and she doesn’t need to change a thing.

      But I guess I said all that to say-yes there are internet dens of creepy racist misogynists who talk to each other! Not that all guys or even most guys do it but they’re out there. And many of them are very angry that women are taking their jobs and earning degrees. We need to all be aware and know how to avoid them and how to tune those shitheads out and shut them down. I agree with everything she said.

  23. dexbex says:

    I’m white and I watch Insecure with my indian girlfriend and it relates to us just fine. She doesn’t need to add any more “white elements” to it to appeal to execs. They should ask their mid 20s-early 30s daughters how they feel about the trajectory of their careers and the dating scene in the city and I guarantee you it will be shown in Insecure.

    I don’t get all the hate on Girls. Have people even seen it? Yes, the main female characters are unlikable and self-centered but she based it off her own privileged white experience. The show does have a lot of funny moments and I would say the entire male cast is really strong. I would watch it for Elijah, Adam and Ray alone.

    • Kitten says:

      Your last paragraph is exactly why I can’t stand Girls and yes, I’ve shamefully hate-watched every episode.

      The male characters are well-developed and complex–funny, caring, introspective, multi-faceted etc while the women are written like caricatures that embody the most awful traits associated with female stereotypes–self-absorbed, uncaring, spoiled, incompetent, needy, self-sabotaging and on and on.

      I don’t know if Lena Dunham has an issue with self-loathing or she just doesn’t have any female friends who are complex and interesting enough to inspire her but the disparity between genders is obvious and highly problematic.

  24. belle says:

    I agree with what she says about black women on the desire pole. I just wanted to add that certain parts of our culture does not help further our (black women’s) character. For one thing, I stopped listening to hip hop music that degrades women once I became aware of what I was repeating. No other musical genre IMO openly shuts down women,black women so consistently. It seems to stress only the sterotypes and spread negativety about black women. While there are a couple (a handful) of positive songs, the majority is all about shaking her ass, gold digging, biatch, whore, side chick, anger black chick, hood rat etc. Our group should just stand up to this non sense. Nothing is more disappointing that seeing young females repeating this stuff, unaware that they are cosigning and talking about hemselves. Its not a song, its an entire musical genre that no other racial group has.

    • Wilma says:

      I understand your argument, but I also wonder if there is a much higher burden on hip hop when it comes to this compared to other genres. Because rock music isn’t very friendly and safe either and even those soft singer-songwriters are objectifying women like crazy.

      • DragonWise says:


      • Strange world says:

        I think the difference is rock as a musical genre doesn’t denigrate white women for their skin color and hair texture.
        I grew up in white suburbia and it was all rock music, classic, alternative, grunge, heavy metal, numetal, garage etc and I never once heard a music lyric that said white women’s skin color is too pale and ugly – never, not once.
        Never heard a rock musician say in an interview how ugly white women are for being white!
        Misogynist and sexist? Sure. Intra racist and colorist? Never.
        Even in their misogynism they never specified white women. It was just ‘women’.
        All of us, white, black…all women.
        Hiphop is both sexist and racist against black women. There is a word for it; misogynoir.

      • Justjj says:

        I don’t know, a lot of women in rap have changed the game. SZA is AMAZING. If you haven’t heard her: stop what you are doing and go listen to her. Hip hop and R&B has also been a platform for feminine power and owes a lot to women. In general though, I do agree that most radio hip hop is objectifying and there are artists that rap about women in ways that are just downright disturbing moreso than merely dismissive. Rock has the same problem. It’s not as overt. It just excludes women completely and always has.

  25. Nomenclature says:

    Sorry, I can’t let this negative myth be propagated and not speak out. There is a difference between the media/fashion press and real life.

    Because yes, Chris Rock discussed how hard he had to fight to have a black woman play his love interest, because the movie execs couldn’t see it.

    Yes, Prada and Chanel and others may not cast black models, deeming their beauty unusable.

    That is the media.

    Real life is different.

    I only have my anec-data as a woman of average looks, no make-up wearing and curves which ought to exclude me from the dating pool -I get hit on. White, Black, latino, whatever dudes are fond of messy hair and big boobs -they ask for my deets. And I am hardly unique.

    As for the studies in reference to dating apps, I need to see receipts. What percentage of black women were on the app? And what percentage of black men? While some may date outside of those with similar melanin pigment, many won’t. Unless the reality of Af-Ams being a statistical minority was factored into this study, I’m not buying it.

    I got yer god-durned study right here. And it says I am hott 😉

    And so are you. Whoever you are.

    • Enough Already says:


    • LAK says:


    • WTW says:

      My sentiments exactly. Preach!

    • Honey says:

      +100 absolutely

    • blogdis says:

      Thank you I just said elsewhere what is the point of black women regurgitating these studies ????
      Furthermore if a black man cannot see your value because of you skin color. shape of your lips and nose or your hair texture is too close to his , I mean what does that say about him and why would you want to date such a man anyway??.

      Look at Gilbert Arenas a dark skinned man who is clearly color struck and has made negative public utterances about dark skinned women including Lupita. Well even though he chose a light skin woman to mate with as karma would have it his daughters are dark and look exactly like him , what do you think its like d having a father who clearly thinks little of girls/women who look like them . Do you really want to raise children with men that think like that . No Sir Please keep it moving

    • BJ says:

      I have about 20 male cousins only about 6 have a black girlfriend or significant other.I have about 30 female first cousins and only about 6 date non black guys.My cousins primarily in GA, California,TX and LA.Most have white girlfriends or latina,a couple have asian girlfriends.Black women as a group are the group least likely to date or marry across race lines.So it doesn’t matter how many non Blacks hit on some women they still hold out for a a black guy.And Since many black guys date across race lines it leaves many women single.Of course if you are open to date across racial lines then you have more options.I date across racial lines.BTW that OK Cupid article posted earlier confirms the racial bias on dating sites.

      • Patty says:

        Most black men still marry black women. But yes, there a lot of self hating black men who exclusively date anything that’s not black. As far as I’m concerned: not my circus, not my monkeys.

        As someone mentioned above those type of men clearly have issues. Mess galore.

    • AmunetMaat says:

      Exactly, I believe 89% of black men marry black women and 95% of black women marry black men. The numbers are not as dire as media propagates. Also, the media likes to paint a particular brush to continue systematic racism and colorism as a propaganda tool but that does not mean it is our reality. I went to a racially diverse high school and later UNC where black students were 5,000 out of the 25,000 population and my problem was being too black for anyone. My fellow black men (mostly from other universities or locals) appreciated my looks (curves for days and chocolate complexion). So I hate the myth that black men are not being supportive of black women, and I also hate the myth that black men are dating and marrying interracially at higher numbers and holding women outside of their race on a pedestal.

  26. magnoliarose says:

    The dress is a no and the makeup is way too heavy. She doesn’t need all of that it ruins her pretty cuteness.
    Her show is very funny and fresh which I like. I want diverse stories because they end up showing us how similar we are despite our differences. It took me a minute to absorb what she is saying about being last on the list as a black woman. I never thought that was the case at all until I asked someone and she confirmed it. It is a strange thing to learn from someone I have known my entire life. Her mother went to college with my mother and still, I never knew this. She was always dating and had boyfriends and now a fiance who is white but she said she never felt like she could pick any guy she was attracted to since he may not like black women no matter the race of the guy.
    These are new conversations making it to the mainstream. They are uncomfortable but necessary if we are going to progress as feminists who can listen and recognize each other’s struggles respectfully. Acknowledging my white privilege feels embarrassing sometimes and once I see things I feel stupid for not seeing it before. In this political climate, we have to get over it and improve or we won’t be able to help each other.
    I was concerned she wouldn’t get renewed I am glad she was.

  27. blogdis says:

    I have been a fan of Issa since her webseries Awkward Black girl (if you haven’t seen it please do )glad to see her finally get her due . That being said i really wonder what black women have to gain by constantly repeating and reinforcing the whole ” Woe is me no one wants us mantra ” what is the end game there? IMO it is really annoying and counterproductive. I know for a fact that there are men of all races including black men who find black women attractive but go with what society tells them is the prize

    Perhaps its because I had the blessing (now i realize how much ) of growing up in a developing country that was multicultural but predominantly black. whist we were not immune to colorism or racism , brown skin women were valued and chosen everyday in fact as ateen, the hot girl in my neighborhood that all the boys were chasing was a Lupita look alike so I really never let those negative issues about black women phase me because by the time i was an adult i was already grounded in who i am and knew my worth

    Im not saying that-there isnt a problem with how the media portrays the desirability of black women especially with so many high profile black men chasing anything but a black women .but exactly what is the desired outcome in black women themselves constantly reinforcing this message ??

    • Cali says:

      So glad to see similar comments here about black women being so called “undesirable” as stated by Issa Rae. Since when? I’m a black woman who has dated white and Latino men. Are we really judging our self-worth on what the bias/racist media promotes? Give me a break and I’m very disappointed that she would repeat this foolishness that has been shoved down our throats since…Forever.

  28. PMNichols says:

    This woman is stunning. I always thought women of color were sooooo gorgeous. I WISH I was!!

  29. Tyrant Destroyed says:

    Even if I am not a POC but a minority I can totally understand her point about dating.
    It broke my hear to hear the other day that the douche ex boyfriend dumped my 17 year old niece for being “too dark”. She is a beautiful dark skinned Latina young girl and the last thing she needs to hear that crap coming from a dumb dude which unfortunately happens to be her first love .

  30. Tiffany :) says:

    I really like her and I think she will have an incredibly long career. She’s beautiful, intelligent, can work on camera and also writes, creates, produces. That’s a really incredibly set of skills to draw from! Ultimately, though…I just like her vibe. Unlike Lena, she’s someone I’d be friends with. I find her very funny and charming.

    (I once heard that there are 3 categories, and you have to fit in one to be a star: people want to sleep with you, people want to be your friend, or people want to be you.)

  31. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    These threads always leave me feeling the same way… all of us, all women, along all dissecting spectrums of color, weight, height and age are criticized, belittled and made to feel less than and that just pisses me off. We’re too dark. We’re too light. We’re too short. We’re too tall. We’re too young. We’re too old. We’re too fat. We’re too skinny. Enough is enough like a million yesterdays ago.