Issa Rae is an American actress who grew up in environments that would make people perceive her as not being black enough. Her initial career choices included medicine, business, and law but everything changed when her web series, Awkward Black Girl, created to counter Hollywood stereotypes of black women based on her own life experiences, began gaining traction. As a result, Rae decided to abandon every other plan to focus on acting and filmmaking. Awkward Black Girl in 2013 won the Shorty Award for Best Web Show. Her next show, Insecure was even a bigger hit. Rae now has at least two Golden Globe nominations to her name and was named in TIME Magazine’s 2018 list of the world’s most influential people.
Issa Rae was born as Jo-Issa Rae Diop on January 12, 1985, in Los Angeles, California. Her name Issa is a combination of both her grandmothers’ names; Joyce and Isseu while her middle name Rae is in honor of her aunt who is an artist. Issa Rae has four siblings. At some point in her childhood, Rae was raised in Dakar, Senegal, her father’s home country. Rae was later raised in Potomac, Maryland, and then the affluent View Park-Windsor Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Throughout her childhood, she grew up with things that are not conventionally considered black-related, including having Jewish best friends and playing street hockey. At one point in school, she faced criticisms for not acting black enough. With aspirations of following in her father’s footsteps to become a medical doctor, Rae attended King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. However, she’d soon discover that medicine was not her thing.
Rae had been involved in acting from her middle-school years when she staged a play at her family’s church. At Stanford, Rae, just for fun, created a mock reality series called Dorm Diaries. She also made music videos, directed plays and wrote scripts. After graduating from Stanford in 2007, Rae earned a theater fellowship at New York’s The Public Theater and also attended the New York Film Academy.
Issa Rae teamed up with her friend Tracy Oliver to produce Awkward Black Girl based on her life as an unconventional black girl. Post-college, Rae worked a number of odd jobs and considered careers in business and law. She quickly abandoned both thoughts after her YouTube web series Awkward began to gain traction in 2011.
The web series received favorable reviews from fans and attracted the attention of TV executives. With funding from Kickstarter and later, support from musician Pharrell, Rae was able to create more episodes of her show and ultimately break into the mainstream. In early 2015, HBO picked up her pilot for Insecure, making Issa Rae the first black woman to create, produce and star in a series on a major network.
Her first book, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl released in 2015 is a New York Times best-seller. Rae has gone on to produce a host of other shows and short films.
Issa Rae’s Parents
Issa Rae was born to parents Abdoulaye and Delyna Diop. Her father Adboulaye is a pediatric doctor who hails from Senegal. He practiced in Inglewood, California. Her mother Delyna (nee Hayward) a teacher by profession is an African-American from Lousianna.
Rae’s parents schooled in France which is where they first met. While Rae was in high school, her parents divorced. Her dad had wanted her to become a doctor or a lawyer and was horrified when she decided to major in African-American studies. With the level of accomplishments Rae has achieved, we bet her father feels totally different about her today.
Issa Rae has got a brother named Lamine Diop who came under the media radar, not for his career but his fineness. However, it is most likely that Lamine who is an upcoming musician would soon, like his sister, gain traction for his endeavors in the entertainment industry. Lamine frequently takes to his social media pages to support his sister and that was in fact how he came to the media’s attention. Essence Magazine in a short article about him revealed his height to be 6 feet 6 inches. See more of his cuteness on Twitter and Instagram where he goes with the handle “enimalwins.”
Who is Issa Rae’s Boyfriend, or is she Married to a Husband?
As far as we know, Issa Rae has never been married and chances are that if she does get hitched, the media would barely get details, that is because Issa is uber private when it comes to her personal life.
In her interview with Vogue for their March 2018 issue, Issa was asked if she was dating and she clearly told Vogue that she wanted no input from people about her love life, thus she waved the question. However, in the past, Issa has been linked with the Ghanaian-American actor Kofi Siriboe known for his appearance on OWN’s Queen Sugar.
The duo sparked relationship rumors after they seemingly flirted with each other on social media. However, in a radio interview with The Breakfast Club, Rae debunked the rumors saying that she isn’t secretly dating the Ghanaian hunk. Kofi would later confirm his relationship with Sudanese ebony supermodel model Duckie Thot.
Height and Other Quick Facts
- Rae stands at 5 feet 7 inches which is about 1.7 m.
- Net Worth: $3 million
- Birthday: January 12, 1985
- Parents: Abdoulaye and Delyna Diop
- Ethnicity: Senegalese
- Siblings: 4 including brother Lamine Diop
- Education: Stanford, New York Film Academy.