Issa Rae’s controversial Vera Wang sleeves at the Emmys: fine or tragic?

69th Emmy Awards

Issa Rae surprised me at the Emmys. I didn’t really know what to expect from her, but I wasn’t expecting this custom Vera Wang gown with weird sleeves. I also didn’t expect this dress to be so controversial – for me, it was not the best but far from the worst. The Wang could have used some edits, but she looked beautiful and you could tell that she liked the gown a lot. People were, like, angry about the sleeves though. They were also angry about this:

I laughed when I saw that clip. It has the benefit of being a good joke because it’s so true. I mean, why not? Why not root for all the black people? The Deplorables were so mad about it though. And here’s Issa’s response:


69th Emmy Awards

Here’s Anika Noni Rose in Thai Nguyen Atelier. You guys, I had no idea that Anika was so voluptuous. Her body looks crazy (good) but the dress is actually quite bad. The color is terrible and the deep-V doesn’t actually suit her.

69th Emmy Awards

Lord help me, but I loved Lea Michele’s Elie Saab dress. It was SO PRETTY. Elie Saab is a standard look on any given red carpet, so no surprise there. I just wish this gown had been on someone else so I could appreciate it fully. On Lea Michele… I don’t know, I just came away sort of annoyed, because she’s an annoying person. She should have done her hair differently too.

69th Emmy Awards

Kyra Sedgwick also wore Elie Saab and I don’t care for this at all. As soon as she walked out on stage, I just missed The Closer. Why did you leave me, Brenda Leigh??

69th Emmy Awards 2017 Press Room

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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53 Responses to “Issa Rae’s controversial Vera Wang sleeves at the Emmys: fine or tragic?”

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  1. Lucy2 says:

    Without the sleeves, Issa’s dress would’ve been one of my favorites. I think she looked incredibly gorgeous.
    I too liked Lea Michele’s dress, and wished it was on someone else!

    • V4Real says:

      But why would the sleeves be controversial? Maybe some don’t like the sleeves but what’s controversial about it.

      • Alexandria says:

        Not to be taken seriously, they were just fashionably controversial. Perhaps akin to Amal Clooney’s gloves controversy for uh serious fashionistas.

      • Tessy says:

        I actually like the sleeves. They dress it up, and turn it into more than just another one shoulder dress.

  2. lightpurple says:

    Issa looked fabulous. The sleeves could have been a distraction but her overall glow won over the sleeves.

    • ORIGINAL T.C. says:

      Agreed, not many people could have worked those sleeves but the color and Issa’s beauty shone so high that the sleeves didn’t matter imo. The fit of the dress is a thing of beauty on Issa. Vera Wang is Queen!

  3. Aiobhan Targaryen says:

    Issa looks amazing. I like everything about this dress. I also root for all the black and other POC nominees each and every time one is nominated. I make signs and everything to show my support (no I don’t because I am too lazy to do that, but I would if I was not so lazy).

    The only issue I have with Anika’s dress is the color. It is too drab and lifeless on her.

    I don’t know why Lea Michele gets invited anywhere anymore but she looks nice here. Anika’s dress should be the same color as Lea’s.

    Kyra looks like a mess.

    • velourazre says:

      I love Issa’s dress. Why be boring.

    • GiBee says:

      How fragile do you have to be to get offended and shout “racist!” when someone simply says they’re rooting for other POC? The deplorables truly are snowflake-iest snowflakes.

    • Bananapanda says:

      Kyra looked really good on camera when presenting but she’s committed the faux pas of wearing a dress that is transparent under flash bulbs.

  4. Nicole says:

    I could’ve done the sleeve on the left for both sides. Lea’s dress is quite pretty to me but I wish she did a low updo.
    I was also rooting for everyone black sorry not sorry. The fact that it took 69 Emmys to get firsts for people of color last night is exactly why I’m not apologetic about rooting for people like me.

  5. Jenny says:

    Except for Issa’s dress (the sleeves look uncomfortable to wear but otherwise don’t detract from the dress) that’s gorgeous and she makes it even more so, I think all the dresses in this post are hideous. Lea M looks especially awful in every way.

    • Esmom says:

      Yeah, I don’t hate the sleeves, either. She looks amazing. I don’t love any of the others either, although I give Kyra props for having a real lining in her dress. It would have been tons worse if it had truly been sheer.

  6. Skylark says:

    Issa looks incredible, odd sleeves and all. The colour is just stunning on her.

  7. Crowdhood says:

    I know this is off topic but I have to vent and since I saw Issa in an Instagram with Titus Burgess I will consider it close enough: Titus burgess should have won over Alec Baldwin. He MAKES the show he is on. I know Alec gave us a great comedic take on a terrible time in our history but to me there’s a lot more that goes into building and maintaining a character, one that literally drives the show, rather than showing up to impersonate somebody a few times. If there weren’t so many great nominees in that category- ok, I can see it. But I was MAD.

  8. Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

    Fine !

  9. Beth says:

    Without the bizarre sleeves, it would’ve been pretty. The sleeves ruined it for me because it’s all I notice, and they’re terrible

  10. Deedee says:

    Anyone else think that one sleeve would’ve been a more interesting and daring look?

  11. Planet Earth says:

    @ 10 Deedee

    Yep, one sleeve would definitely look more interesting.

    Btw. How can red sleeves be controversial? How can sleeves be controversial? They are just cloth covering arm(s).

  12. lannisterforever says:

    Lea’s dress was stunning – my favorite after Tessa Thompson’s rainbow winner!

  13. Maple Girl says:

    Even without the sleeves it looks like a bad prom dress.

  14. Enough Already says:

    Issa’s hair and makeup are perfection, her cheekbones are #goals and her figure is @-@ but yeah…it looks like she got into a fight on the playground after school.

    So…should I pretend Anika’s nip slip is just a tiny shadow and let it go?

    • my3cents says:

      She is perfection. Could have worn a trash bag and still looked amazing. Yes I’m totally crushing on her!

      • Pandakeeper says:

        Yess!! This. The first time I saw the show, I couldn’t help but fall for her. I used to describe her face as the cutest bunny meets Bambi. Her eyes are pretty and her expression looks like she is interested in everything around her. Such much energy! She could have worn a beige, drab, dress and that smile and eyes still would have won out. Her dress was nice, but would look silly on a lot of people.

  15. Jayna says:

    I’m not a huge fan of that one busy sleeve, but the red is so glorious on her that it all works.

  16. Bellagio DuPont says:

    The problem I have with Issa Rae’s comment is, if a white person said that they were rooting fir everybody white, I would call that out straight away as being racist.

    So is it NOT racist when a black person says it? Hmmmm…..😕

    • Veronica says:

      Yeah, it’s almost like blacks have spent the last two hundred years being oppressed, degraded, and underrepresented, whereas white achievement has dominated the social dialogue for most of American history.

      • JG says:

        So it would be OK to say, “I’m rooting for all the Jews tonight?” Didn’t think so.

      • Bellagio DuPont says:


        Actually, when you look at it from that perspective, it’s a very good point and very hard to argue against.


      • Delia says:

        Veronica, that’s true, but does that mean that POC should automatically win because of their history of being oppressed?

        Are we ever going to reach a point where we want the person who performed the best to win rather than wanting the POC to win simply because they are a POC?

      • Cali Ginger says:

        @Delia, we should be at that point NOW and as a Black woman I feel that things like this set us back because no other ethnic group could say that and it be accepted as ok…

      • Bellagio DuPont says:

        It’s a very difficult one To be honest ……I do root for minorities, not because I have anything against anyone else, but more because it feels nice to feel like progress is being made……however, would I PUBLICLY declare it? Most likely not because it feels hypocritical to then complain if you heard say a white person rooting specifically for white things.

        It just doesn’t feel like there’s a “right” answer to this either way.

        PS: the dresses all look hideous and matronly 🤢🤢 Lovely make up in Issa though!

      • Veronica says:

        JG – Yeah? Why wouldn’t it be? They’re both minorities that are provided less media representation than the white majority.

        Delia – I did not say that. Don’t put my words in my mouth.

        I think if people upset by a black woman stating that black victories are personally more meaningful for her, they need to examine your own feelings on why that bothers *them.* Part of social validation is finding a demographic for which you experience a sense of empathetic pride and success. There are plenty of studies that show self-esteem is significantly impacted by our ability to see ourselves in media and the public sphere. Should we be past that at this point, already? Absolutely. But racism unfortunately hasn’t gone anywhere – if anything, it’s experiencing a resurgence into the mainstream – so I’m not perturbed by her statement.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Oh, I think she was right. Why not? I cried when Lena won. If you root for women, then you ought to get it.

        When the playing field is level, then it would be maybe an issue, but it is not and hasn’t been. She shouldn’t have to defend asking for a one night and for black people to rewarded after so much of the entertainment industry wouldn’t even exist if it hadn’t been for black talent and creativity.

        Sooo let me scoot on over on the white privilege bench, have a seat next to me white people. Don’t be scared just sit on down and have a snack. Let’s be outraged that it took this long to get where we are, and 100s of black people have been overlooked and dismissed for 70 years.

      • Delia says:

        Veronica, I didn’t intend to put words in your mouth, I was merely using your comment to provoke conversation. I think it’s an important discussion and I’m very curious of opinions from POC on subjects like this. I wish we were at the point where we were on a level playing field, but we’re not and I feel like we never will be, unfortunately.

        I don’t take any offense or find anything wrong with what Issa said.

  17. Veronica says:

    I can deal with the sleeves – the color and fit is divine on her, otherwise. Very wise of the MUA not to give her a bold lip. It would have been too matchy-matchy and taken away from her gorgeous eyes.

  18. Triedmetday says:

    ISSA RAYE IS PERFECTION!! Sleeves?? Yall gota prahblem with sleeves?? Red sleeves on red barpet is bontroversial?? Im jus axkin!@ wypipo b tryinmetday?? Yall ackin brazy!!

  19. Otaku fairy says:


  20. babu says:

    Issa Rae is vibrant on these pictures. Truly gorgeous.
    Crazy sleeves & bold color totally work. Otherwise she would have looked too ‘classical’ (the downside of having such a perfectly proportioned face).

  21. jugil1 says:

    I liked Issa’s dress & her make up was perfection.

  22. Karen TYler says:

    Sure, the sleeves on Issa’s dress were a bit odd, but I still think she not only made it work, but looked GORGEOUS in it. I think she should win “best dressed” at the Emmy’s. STUNNING!

  23. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    “I’m rooting for everyone black!” Lol, I think it’s cute. Wahhhh, deplorables get over it – you’ve rooted for everyone white your entire lives but you just don’t say it outloud.

    Whatever. Issa is totes cute. Was expecting much worse when I saw title of article. I mean I don’t love the sleeves, but they’re not that bad.

  24. jferber says:

    LOVE her show Insecure!

  25. nikzilla says:

    Ha! Awesome, go Issa.

  26. Dee says:

    I looove Issa (like a lot) but I hate Insecure.

  27. magnoliarose says:

    Issa Rae is my imaginary best friend, and she looks gorgeous even with the sleeve party happening on one arm.

  28. Patty says:

    And Americans usually root for other Americans, nothing wrong with what Issa said.

    Every group does it. White people don’t have to vocalize it because it’s pretty obvious. The world is full of mediocre talented white people who win awards and stuff. Jeez.

    And if you pay attention you’ll know that white people do say it, they just try to be clever about it and use coded language. 🤔