Issa Rae on keeping up with friends: ‘we have to make an effort’ to see each other

Issa Rae covers Self
Issa Rae has been quite busy this past year despite COVID. The final season of Insecure, season five, will begin airing on HBO October 24. Issa also signed a multi-year production deal with HBO Max and has began filming her new series, Rap Sh!t, which she will write and co-executive produce. And Issa surprised us all with beautiful pictures from her surprise wedding in the south of France in July. My girl stays booked and busy. Despite all of Issa’s success, Issa still lives in the area where she grew up in South L.A. and has been actively investing into the neighborhood. Issa covers the October issue of Self. She told Self about her approach to social media and how she keeps in touch with friends. Issa has a recurring monthly date with friends because other things like work, romantic relationships and family become bigger priorities. Below are a few highlights from Self:

On living in South LA
“Living here and even having my office in South L.A. and Inglewood and just seeing what we don’t have, and the only time that resources are put into our communities are when white people are moving in, that’s so frustrating.

“We’re so used to things being taken from us. We’re so used to having to be on guard and fighting and being, in many cases, rightfully untrusting of whatever circumstances, and it’s all justified. Nothing has ever given us reason to think differently.

On her privacy and sharing photos from her wedding this summer
“I still try to be private about my personal life, but that was something that I knew was going to be shared, and I just wanted to share it on my own terms.

“I think the little time I’ve been in the industry, I’ve witnessed how so many people who are front-facing don’t have a peace and aren’t at peace, and that’s always been troubling to me. In this age of social media, where I was an avid user, I would share so much of myself, of my friend group, and it was fun because it felt like [it was] just among my friends. The more I started to seep out, the more I felt like people took ownership of me and my decisions and things that I did. That’s just not something that sat right with me, and I found that I don’t like to be the subject of conversations that I don’t initiate. There’s just something uncomfortable about that.

“There’s something really nice to have a piece of me that no one knows about or no one can talk about except for the people that are part of my life. Self-care has been having a private piece that’s just for me.”

She’s not sure whether she wants kids
“I like my life, I like this selfishness, and I know that I have a window. I’ve always felt that way, that women, Black women especially—unless you’re Viola Davis or Angela Bassett—you have a window when people are going to want to continue to see you and see what you can do. Then there are so many limitations placed upon you, and that does keep me up. I want to do as much as I can while I still can. I know it’s not the proper mentality to think that kids will slow you down, but I do feel that way.”

On seeing friends
“It’s really disheartening to realize, ‘Oh, we have to really, really make an effort to see one another. I just reached out to my group chat of friends to be like, ‘Can we at least have a standing brunch or dinner once a month?’ and everybody was down, and then I was like, ‘Oh, shit, I’m going to be out of town. I’m going to be gone.’ That’s so f-king whack.”

[From Self]

Issa Rae has been one of the most exciting creatives in the last decade. I have loved watching her leverage her Youtube following into her burgeoning career. I am looking forward to the final season of Insecure but am sad there will not be more episodes after this season. I know she will not be in Rap Sh!t but I am still looking forward to the series because I know her quirky stamp will be on it. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Issa invests into her neighborhood in South L.A. The fact that she bought a coffee shop for creatives to go to work is beautiful. I love all of the other work she is doing for South L.A. and hope other BIPOC celebrities take note. I also love how Issa said she’s not sure she wants children because she loves her selfish life. Baby girl, I felt that in my soul. I made the decision not to have children when I was twenty one and over two decades later, I have not regretted not having children. I hope more women make this choice if it feels right and not feel pressured by society or family.

I somewhat agree with Issa about friendships and getting older. But what I have learned over the years is that some relationships are for seasons, some for reasons and many are for a lifetime. Learning to differentiate between the three is key. Some relationships naturally fall to the wayside and others are definitely worth the effort. I just recently reconnected with my clique from high school (I use that term lightly). We all met up for brunch a few weeks ago and now we have decided, at least while I am in Houston, to meet up every month for brunch. These friends from my youth are lifetime friends. I have also made amazing friends in my thirties and my forties and those relationships are just as strong. I am looking forward to seeing what Issa does over the next few years. In the mean time, I am going to go look at these gorgeous pictures of her.

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5 Responses to “Issa Rae on keeping up with friends: ‘we have to make an effort’ to see each other”

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  1. Levans says:

    Love Issa! I think she’ll be around for a while!

  2. BothSidesNow says:

    I am loving everything about her!! Issa is certainly a woman of conviction, action and certainly a WOC who not only is breaking ceilings, but also the walls!! I don’t watch her sitcom, but she is incredibly brilliant, driven and is outspoken. Issa’s comments about why POC, especially regarding African Americans, is the truth with additional layers. As a Houstonian, she is calling out the truth as to the continuous stealing from African Americans. Once Houston decided to build the famous sports arena in East section of downtown, thousands of African Americans that had lived in the wards for generations were forced to move out of their homes. Solely due to its proximity, which was now considered valuable property. This displaced thousands of families that worked near and around downtown, out to the suburbs which resulted in 3 hour bus rides to get into downtown if they didn’t have a car. It’s refreshing to see how secure and unapologetic she is in regards to her life, and the choices and boundaries she has set. Issa is certainly a WOC that all of us should stand up and take notice. Issa is building opportunities for herself, her community and those who will benefit from her strength and conviction. I am loving every dynamic of Issa and I am so excited to see where her life takes us. Issa is a stunning woman, but she is intoxicating in their wedding photos. Damn, her husband is hot!!

  3. outoftheshadows says:

    These photos are gorgeous and she is absolutely dead right about how having kids will slow you down. I don’t think it’s selfish to wait to/choose not to have them. That’s just baggage that gets dumped on women. With the world as populated as it is, we can stand to have fewer children for a while, especially while the environment is such a mess.

    Also, I love Insecure, not only because of Issa, but because of Yvonne Orji and Natasha Rothwell. All the actors are good but those 3 are exceptional.

  4. ItReallyIsYouNotMe says:

    She is truly amazing. I am invested absolutely everything that she said in this interview, especially the part about having to make time for friendships as your career (and family for some people) take off.

  5. Bobbie says:

    Friendship definitely changes as you get older. Friends become people to hang out with. They’re more like friendly acquaintances. You aren’t going to call them if you need anything. And if you have a friendship with someone you can actually count on — could you call them to take you to the emergency room late at night? — once you are past 30 or 35, hold onto it. It’s rare.