Issa Rae is an American actress who grew up in an environment that would give the impression that she is not black enough. Her initial career aspirations included medicine, business, and law, but everything changed when her web series Awkward Black Girl, created to counter the stereotypes of black women in Hollywood based on her own life experiences, gained traction. As a result, Rae decided to abandon any other plan and concentrate on acting and filmmaking. The clumsy black girl won the Shorty Award for the best web show in 2013. Her next show, Insecure, was an even bigger success. Rae now has at least two Golden Globe nominations to her name and was added to TIME Magazine’s list of the world’s most influential people in 2018.
Issa Rae was born as Jo-Issa Rae Diop on 12 January 1985 in Los Angeles, California. Her name Issa is a combination of the names of her two grandmothers Joyce and Isseu, while her middle name is Rae in honor of her aunt, an artist. Issa Rae has four siblings. At some point in her childhood, Rae grew up in Dakar, Senegal, her father’s home country. Later, Rae grew up in Potomac, Maryland, and then in the affluent district of View Park-Windsor Hills in Los Angeles.
Throughout her childhood, she grew up with things that are not usually associated with blacks, including having Jewish best friends and playing street hockey. At some point in school, she was criticized for not being black enough. In an effort to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a doctor, Rae attended King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. She would soon discover, however, that medicine was not her thing.
Rae had been involved in acting since her middle school days when she performed a play in her family’s church. At Stanford, just for fun, Rae 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 received a theater scholarship 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. After college, Rae worked in a series of odd jobs and considered careers in business and law. She quickly gave up on both ideas after her YouTube web series Awkward began to gain ground in 2011.
The web series received positive reviews from fans and caught the attention of TV executives. With the funding of Kickstarter and later with the support of musician Pharrell, Rae was able to create more episodes of her series and eventually break into the mainstream. In early 2015, HBO recorded her pilot for Insecure, making Issa Rae the first black woman to create, produce and star in a series for a major broadcaster.
Her first book, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, published in 2015, is a New York Times bestseller. Rae has subsequently produced a number of other shows and short films.
Issa Rae’s Parents
Issa Rae was born the son of parents Abdoulaye and Delyna Diop. Her father Abdoulaye is a pediatrician and comes from Senegal. He practiced in Inglewood, California. Her mother Delyna (née Hayward), a teacher by profession, is an African American from Louisiana.
Rae’s parents were educated in France where they met for the first time. While Rae was in high school, her parents divorced. Her father had wanted her to be a doctor or lawyer and was horrified when she decided to major in African American Studies. Given the level of achievement that Rae has achieved, we bet her father feels very differently about her today.
Issa Rae has a brother named Lamine Diop who has fallen under the radar of the media, not because of his career, but because of his subtlety. However, it is very likely that Lamine, who is an aspiring musician, would soon gain traction, like his sister, for his efforts in the entertainment industry. Lamine often uses his social media sites to support his sister, and this is how the media attention was drawn to him. Essence Magazine, in a short article about him, stated that he was 5’8″ tall. See more of his cuteness on Twitter and Instagram, where he walks 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 before, and chances are that if she were married, the media would barely know details because Issa is extremely private about her personal life.
In her interview with Vogue for their March 2018 issue, Issa was asked if she was with anyone, and she clearly told Vogue that she didn’t want any input from people about her love life, so she waved the question. In the past, however, Issa has been associated with Ghanaian-American actor Kofi Siriboe, known for his appearance in OWN’s Queen Sugar.
The duo sparked relationship rumors after apparently flirting with each other through social media. However, in a radio interview with The Breakfast Club, Rae exposed the rumors by saying that she was not secretly dating the Ghanaian protagonist. Kofi would later confirm his relationship with Sudanese ebony supermodel Duckie Thot.
Height and Other Quick Facts
- Height: 5 feet 7 inches
- Net worth: $3 million
- Birthday: January 12, 1985
- The parents: Abdoulaye and Delyna Diop
- Ethnicity: Senegalese
- Siblings: 4 including brother Lamine Diop
- Education: Stanford, New York Film Academy.