Issa Rae Biography

Issa Rae is an actor, writer, director and producer. She is best known for creating and starring in the HBO series Insecure and the YouTube web series Awkward Black Girl.

As a child Rae lived in Potomac, Maryland, where she grew up with "things that aren't considered 'black,' like the swim team and street hockey and Passover dinners with Jewish best friends." When she was in sixth grade, her family moved to the affluent View Park-Windsor Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles where she attended a predominantly black middle school, where Rae said she was "berated for 'acting white,'" and initially found it difficult to "fit into this 'blackness' [she] was supposed to be."

Rae graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in African and African-American Studies in 2007. As a college student, she made music videos, wrote and directed plays, and created a mock reality series called Dorm Diaries for fun. She produced and directed four theatrical productions, including two stage adaptations of Spike Lee films.

Since film was her true passion, Issa took time off from Stanford to attend the New York Film Academy where she honed her filmmaking skills. She received a theater fellowship at The Public Theater in New York City. Rae worked odd jobs, and at one point was struggling to decide between business school and law school, but eventually abandoned both ideas when Awkward Black Girl started taking off in 2011.

Issa's web series Awkward Black Girl premiered on YouTube in 2011. The show follows the life of J (played by Issa) as she interacts with co-workers and love interests who place her in uncomfortable situations. The story is told through a first-person narrative, as J usually reveals how she feels about her circumstances through voice-over or dream sequence.

The series eventually went viral through word of mouth, blog posts, and social media, resulting in mainstream media coverage and attention. The web series has been featured on several sites and publications, including CNN, NBC,, Vibe, Huffington Post, Essence Magazine and more.

Rae eventually partnered up with Pharrell and premiered season two of the series on his YouTube channel, iamOTHER. She also began releasing other content on her original channel, predominantly created by and starring people of color. The channel has garnered over 40 million video views and over 430,000 subscribers on YouTube.

In 2013, Awkward Black Girl won a Shorty award for Best Web Show. Rae says that she created Awkward Black Girl because she felt that the Hollywood stereotypes of African-American women were limiting and she couldn't relate to them:

"I've always had an issue with the assumption that people of color, and black people especially, aren't relatable. I know we are."

Rae's first book, a memoir titled The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl was released with Simon & Schuster in 2015. In the book, she chronicles her life through a series of humorous anecdotes and opens up about her personal struggle with not fitting in, and not being considered "black enough" at times.

Issa started working on a comedy series project with Larry Wilmore in 2013. The HBO series was named Insecure and stars Rae. The series focuses on the life of an awkward, twenty-something black woman. Since its release in 2016, the series has received critical acclaim. For her work on Insecure, she has received two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

The success of Insecure has made Issa an in-demand actress in Hollywood. She is set to star in a number of projects and feature length films, including Little, The Lovebirds, The Photograph, Empress of Serenity and American Princess.

Contact a speaker booking agent to check availability on Issa Rae and other top speakers and celebrities.

Issa Rae Videos

Issa Rae, Lena Waithe and More on Women Behind the Lens
Issa Rae Raps While Eating Spicy Wings | Hot Ones

How to book Issa Rae?

Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Issa Rae for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Issa Rae, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Issa Rae or any other celebrity of your choice.

How much does it cost to book Issa Rae?

Booking fees for Issa Rae, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Issa Rae, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.

Who is the agent for Issa Rae?

All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Issa Rae for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Issa Rae for your next private or corporate function.

What is a full-service talent booking agency?

All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Issa Rae or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Issa Rae or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Issa Rae is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Issa Rae for your event is $75,000 - $200,000. Issa Rae generally travels from Los Angeles, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Viola Davis, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Rashida Jones and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Issa Rae for an upcoming event.

Issa Rae Videos

Issa Rae, Lena Waithe and More on Women Behind the Lens
Issa Rae Raps While Eating Spicy Wings | Hot Ones
Issa Rae's Perfectly Awkward And Hilarious Speech Is All Of Us ...
HAATBP Keynote: Issa Rae

Issa Rae News


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