Issa Rae finally released the trailer for her highly anticipated new series Rap Sh!t. The HBO show’s trailer hit the internet on Monday after the Insecure star shared it on her Instagram page. “🗣 New Sh!t #RapShit - July 21st @rapshitonmax,” Issa wrote. The trailer gave viewers insight into what they can expect and it looks like they will be in for a ride.
The show, which was created and executive produced by Issa, is about two former high school friends who reconnect to form a rap group in their hometown of Miami, FL. The new series stars Aida Osman, KaMillion, Jonica Booth, Devon Terrell, and RJ Cyler. Here’s everything we know so far about the series that will premiere on July 21.
Rap Sh!t stars a Miami rapper and one of HBO’s Youngest executives.
KaMillion and Aida Osman co-star in the series as best friends Mia and Shawna. In real life, KaMillion is a rapper who hails from Miami and she has also starred in Love and Hip Hop: Miami. From what we know so far, it appears that art will be imitating life as she will be playing a Miami rapper trying to make it to the top. Aida, who grew up in Nebraska, and worked on many TV series as a writer, now has the spotlight on her as a co-lead on the HBO show. Aida spoke about her character in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar.
“It’s comedy, it’s storytelling, it’s music, it’s fine b–hes!” she said. “It’s interesting with Shawna—I’m giving her a lot of my personal storylines. In the writers’ room, we access our own personal stories and give them to the characters just by nature of having conversations about our life and about what’s going on in culture around us. We can have real conversations about Black femininity and control as a young creative, and that’s beautiful to me as a young creative and a Black woman. I get to do a lot of self-exploration through the show, and heal and investigate my own life. It’s like constant therapy.”
Social media is its own character on the show.
Rap Sh!t shows how the characters use social media as a way to document their journey to stardom. Social media plays a key part in many artists' success as they use it to build and entertain their followers. Issa explained why it was important to show that in the series and how famous female rappers like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion influenced the show.
"When I think about Cardi B, I discovered her because of friends sending me her social media videos before she was a rapper, before Love & Hip Hop. And then, being able to watch her journey and watch people fall in love with her and root for her, and then root for her downfall like that—that is so interesting to me," Issa explained in the Harper’s Bazaar interview.
"Megan Thee Stallion too. I didn't become a fan of hers until I saw the twerking gas station video she did. When I think about so many of the female rappers that we see today, and even just the music industry as a whole, social media is such a huge part of that come-up. To be famous during this time relies so much on what you're putting out. The question of how authentic we really are, knowing that people are watching, really fascinates me. I don't think that this era of female rap exists without social media."
Alicia Vera/HBO Max
Rap Sh!t is about female empowerment.
Issa enlisted Yung Miami and JT of the City Girls to co-executive produce the series along with Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “P” Thomas who are the co-owners of the “Period” hitmaker’s music label Quality Control. Rap Sh!t’s showrunner is Syreeta Singleton who also worked on Insecure.
The Photograph star explained the concept behind Rap Sh!t and how she found the inspiration. “I think this is just such a unique time in hip-hop, especially when it comes to female rappers, because there’s such an abundance, and it doesn’t feel like they’re all in competition with each other,” Issa said. “I’m a child of the ’90s, and there used to always be a tendency to put two women against one another. It feels like we’re in an era where there’s such a supportive environment now because of that abundance. All of that, combined with just my own story of coming up, became the next story that I wanted to tell.”
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Featured image by Alicia Vera/HBO Max
Issa Rae’s star continues to shine brighter and brighter. The genius behind Emmy-nominated television seriesInsecureand web series Awkward Black Girl will be receiving the 2022 Producers Guild of America (PGA) Visionary Award. PGA’s presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher made a statement about choosing the actress as the next recipient of the prestigious award. “Issa makes us excited for the future of television,” the statement said.
“With her series Insecure, she achieved the highest levels of comedy, perspective, and performance possible, and her sharp wit and distinct voice will undoubtedly continue to drive quality entertainment featuring underrepresented voices.”
“Beyond Issa’s prolific work, she is a role model and inspiration to the next generation of creatives through her mentorship programs like ColorCreative, and more recently, ‘Project Greenlight.’ We are thrilled to honor Issa this year.”
Issa is in good company as past recipients include Kenya Barris, Octavia Spencer, Ava DuVernay, and more. Issa’s series Insecure is what made the Los Angeles native a household name, but she has gone on to star in other projects such as The Photograph, Netflix film The LoveBirds and she executive produced the HBO reality show Sweet Life: Los Angeles.
After ending her beloved series, she is now working on Rap Sh*t, which is a new HBO show that is about two former high school friends who reunite and try to make it in the rap industry. However, the 37-year-old actress is also making moves outside of the entertainment industry while staying true to her creativeness. Check out these moves below:
Between the weekend of Feb. 12-14, Insecure fans can live like Issa’s character. The writer and producer became an Airbnb host in honor of the Super Bowl being in L.A. “I became an Airbnb Host to create a stay where fans of the show can experience this for themselves. From dinner by Worldwide Tacos on game day to art from my favorite local artists on the walls – this is LA, my way,” Issa said. Guests will also enjoy panoramic views of the city and pamper themselves with haircare products from Issa’s line Sienna Naturals.
Issa co-created haircare line Sienna Naturals with Hannah Diop, which is a line that according to the website is free of products are always free of harsh sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, petroleum, mineral oil, formaldehyde, artificial fragrances, and dyes. “I think ingredients are so important, specifically thinking about how the past products that I've used have all been primarily focused on styling. I think, for me, it's been getting to the root of taking care of your hair, making sure that your scalp is healthy, [knowing the] ingredients, and making sure that you're not manipulating your existing texture or the existing oils in your scalp,” Issa toldAllure.
Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen
In Aug. 2019, Issa partnered with Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen owners Ajay Relan and Yonnie Hagos to open a second location in Inglewood. Issa made an Instagram video about the news and shared how excited she was to open a coffee shop in her neighborhood. “Coffee shops facilitate productivity in so many ways, they facilitate collaboration. I personally have done all of my writing in coffee shops. So it always disappointed me that there weren’t any that were Black-owned, people of color-owned in my neighborhood.”
Featured image by Sarah Morris/Getty Images
I’m still in shock that HBO’s Insecure has come to an end. It truly feels like the end of an era. And much like the show’s main characters, my friends and I have changed so much since the first episode aired. I think that’s why I connect with the series. It told our stories in such a clear, funny, yet beautiful way that seemed familiar to real-life problems, relationships, and friendships. But, the other obvious reason we rallied behind the show is clearly the mastermind herself, Issa Rae.
As a creative, her story motivates me so much. She defied the Hollywood rules and created her own path to achieve her dream. From the viral web series Awkward Black Girl to a five-year deal with Warner Media, her journey continues to inspire me. Still, it’s not just her story that resonates. It’s also her attitude and personality.
Whenever I see her interviews (and I’ve watched many) or watch her on the red carpet, I get the feeling she is completely being herself. And that self is a talented, awkward, and successful businesswoman who seems to pour herself into her art and helping others. January 12, Rae’s birthday, feels like a good time to focus on her, so let’s take a few moments to celebrate Issa by reflecting on 10 of her most inspirational quotes.
Rich Fury / Getty
There’s no code-switching over here! This meme moment will live in our heads forever. When an interviewer asked Issa Rae who she was supporting, she nonchalantly stated that she was “betting on Black.” And her delivery was everything we didn’t know we needed.
On Possibilities: "I don't like being limited. This is my worst nightmare. I want to be able to flex other muscles and see what else I can do."
This Issa Rae quote serves as a reminder not to tie myself into one skill or trait, it’s OK to grow and change paths.
On Authenticity: "Embrace who you are now. Embrace what makes you different. If people don't like you for who you are then those people aren't meant to be in your life."
Don’t feel like you have to fit into a mold. Celebrate yourself and those who see you for who you are.
Basically, I love this one because it’s an ode to Black girl magic and how we continue to be great no matter how much turmoil is thrown at us.
Christopher Polk / Getty
Often it’s easy to diminish our goals yet magnify our problems. You know what I mean: “I got that little promotion” or “I did OK on my exam,” when you actually aced it! We should be comfortable celebrating our accomplishments and need to be careful not to minimize them.
Issa Rae On Taking Up Space: "It take confidence. It takes a sense of knowing what you want to say... but sometimes, as women in the workplace, you really have to speak up for yourself and not expect to be rewarded automatically."
With this one Rae simply reminds us not to fade into the background and be comfortable using our voice.
On Initiative: "Tell the story that you've been brewing in your head for years. Even if there hasn't been something, something that you're passionate about or something that you're curious about. You've just got to start it."
It’s so easy to put off goals and projects, especially when you’re passionate about them. But, this quote reminds me not to let fear make decisions for me.
On Speaking Up: "Never dilute your voice. I'm here for a reason and I have something to say, and that's why they [HBO] called me."
Being confident in yourself can get you far, and I think it feels better in the end when you remain true to who you are.
On Perseverance: "Stop finding ways you can't do something. Then you're not going to do it. Find the way that you can and then go for it."
Just go for it. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to start it. Nothing is ever perfect but it can’t be improved until it exists.
On Diversity of Black Women: "I'm a proud Black woman who likes swimming, owns an electric car and loves 'Downtown Abbey.' That's me. And just by being me, I'm Black."
Because, it’s a perfect reminder that we’re never a monolith.
Featured image by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for American Express
The saying goes “all good things come to an end,” but it also leads to new beginnings. That appears to be the case for Issa Rae after she dished on the final season of her celebrated HBO series Insecure. The finale premiered Sunday, December 26 and fans are still reeling from the effects of it.
While the characters all had happy endings (shoutout to #LawrenceHive), Issa and the writers actually explored a number of different ways of how they were going to end the season.
If you haven’t watched the finale yet, then you might want to bypass these next few sentences because it is a spoiler alert. After all of the drama and back and forth that, if you think about it, is just a part of life, Issa and Lawrence ultimately end up together.
“Yeah, actually. Especially — and since it is so present in my life right now, and I’m curious about it — I do wish we could’ve explored motherhood through Issa,” she said.
“And deciding to or not to. That is something super real that we discussed in the room: Women having this ticking time clock that’s so unfair that men will never experience. They can be like, Yeah, I’m 53, it’s time to have kids. And we really have a time to decide. You can freeze your eggs, you can do all these things, but there’s just something.”
She continued, “There was an interesting discussion that happened in the room that men were enlightened by — annoyingly so — that the women in the room really bonded over: Oh my God, you feel this way, too? Even if you don’t want kids, you still feel that clock. And there’s such a pressure in the back of your mind of having to decide. That’s something I wish we were able to explore. Maybe we’ll explore it with something else.”
Explaining whether or not she’s looking to explore motherhood on a different show, the actress spilled that she’s actually looking to explore motherhood “in real life.”
“I mean. We’ll see,” she said.
Over the summer, Issa married her longtime boyfriend Louis Diame in an elegant wedding in France and while she’s always been super private about her personal life, it was exciting to see the actress open up about wanting to start a family.
Looks like this mogul is ready for motherhood. We love to see it!
Featured image by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Vulture
Without realizing it, Issa Rae has become somewhat of a natural hair icon these days. As Issa Dee in the popular HBO series, Insecure, Issa has changed the way we view natural hairstyles, one look at a time. Off-screen, she dazzles on red carpets, rocking her natural like it's nothing and she is also part owner of the scalp and hair care brand, Sienna Naturals By Issa Rae. But her hair story wasn't always this bold and unapologetic. She told Vogue, "To be referenced as having nappy hair most of my life didn’t really sit well with me."
The method behind embracing her crown is something the actress says she owes to her on-set hairstylist, Felicia Leatherwood. "You’ve got to love the hair that grows out of your scalp. For a long time, I was trying to make my hair fit what everybody else thought was beautiful, and it was damaging to my hair," she continued, touching on her ultimate hair lesson.
And while I'm not sure where Insecure's final season is going quite yet, I am all for noting the many times Issa Rae's hair philosophy lent itself to her character as an homage to the show's cultural impact. As the multi-hyphenate says, "there’s just nothing like seeing a Black woman who switches her hair like the days of the week." That goes double for Issa Dee.
Below are the Issa hair transformations that will give you natural hair inspo for days. Preesh, Insecure.
The Tried & True TWA
Classic and understated Issa Dee. In season one, the character was known to rock her TWA (teeny weeny afro) more than anything and seldom switched her hairstyle up from episode to episode.
Blown Out Afro Puff
This traditional afro puff is a classic amongst natural hair girls everywhere. And Issa rocking it in this season one episode served as a great reminder as to why.
Changes in the way she wore her hair started being more apparent in the series' second season. Instead of just a scarf here or a hair tie there, Issa experimented with twists, braids, and adding length in her hairstyles throughout the seasons moving forward.
Sis switched it up and switched it up often, which was a slight nod to the character's growth.
Half Up Half Down
This half-up half-down style with a side bang is the definition of ease without sacrificing any chic.
Flat Twisted Pony With A Bang
A bang is a must in this protective style. Flat twisted at the sides, Issa's hair is pulled into a low ponytail and left out in an afro puff. Mirroring that puff is her bang in the front. The end result is balanced and giving protective style inspo for days.
Flat Twisted Bun
Merie W. Wallace/HBO
For this simple protective style, mini flat twists are created and pulled into a low bun with extensions added to give a bun effect.
The evolution of Issa Dee's hair from a simple TWA to more complex, "elevated" hairstyles was a journey stylist Felicia Leatherwood was intentional about portraying.
In reference to season 4's progression, Leatherwood told NYLON, "This last season, I wanted to make sure that it was an upgrade for Issa Dee, which means that I go talk to the wardrobe and makeup and see what direction they're going in."
Elevated Faux Hawk Updo
Merie W. Wallace/HBO
In the premiere of season 4, Issa's coif was polished in a faux hawk updo. While most of the audience was questioning if they should break up with their "Molly," we were pondering how to add this style to our must-try list.
Slick Down Low Afro Puff Ponytail
Merie W. Wallace/HBO
In the second episode of season 4, Issa wore two variations of the slick down puff ponytail style. This iteration is pulled low instead of up and also features accents by way of gold bobby pins.
Merie W. Wallace/HBO
Flat Twisted Ponytail
Merie W. Wallace/HBO
Jumbo flat twists twisted back into a low ponytail with some hair added is how this easy style is achieved. Leatherwood mentioned about the ease of some of Issa's styles on the show, "I really like to represent the natural hair community well, and that's my first step. How can I make this something that's reasonable for any naturalista to recreate? [That they] can look and say, 'Oh, I could do that,' or to see themselves with that hairstyle in their own natural texture and their own flavor."
Low Ponytail With Mini Braids
Merie W. Wallace/HBO
The classic low ponytail style got an update with the addition of two mini braids placed in the front.
Twisted Curly Updo
Merie W. Wallace/HBO
The curly updo is given a bit of additional flair with the help of four perfectly laid flat twists bringing the style together.
Two Buns Accented With Beaded Braids
Merie W. Wallace/HBO
There's no denying Issa loves her updos. In this particular look, Issa adds two beaded braids on each side, going in the opposite direction of her two buns.
Braided Bun Updo With Curly Bang
In the season five opener, Issa experienced a bout of self-doubt while revisiting her alma mater. But one thing's for certain and two thing's for sure, the braided bun updo with the curly bang was the star of the show.
Two Feed-In Braids
The unveiling of this feed-in braid style gave me the summer vibes my life currently needs.
Two Twists In The Front, Hair Out In The Back
This hairstyle is perfection and feels like an update to the classic half up half down ponytail styles. Instead, the front of Issa's hair is sectioned into two and then twisted to meet in the back, with the rest of her hair left out.
Braids In The Front, Ponytail In The Back
Forever in love with the way that a lot of Issa's styles are hybrids and seem to create the perfect style. This style from the current and final season features braids in the front pulled into an exaggerated braided pony in the back.
Featured image by Merie Wallace/HBO
There are so many reasons creatives should look up to Issa Rae. She constructs amazing stories and characters, is unapologetically herself and is a real-life example that if you work hard enough, you can truly have it all. But, one of my personal favorite things about the mogul is the way she constantly creates opportunities for others. In a recent interview with CBS This Morning, the actor, producer, and entrepreneur sat down with Gayle King and had a full-circle moment where she opened up about the final season of Insecure and why it's only the beginning.
This is not the first time we've seen Rae and King together. In 2016, when Issa Rae was most known for the still-hilarious and popular web series Awkward Black Girl, she shared her feelings on what it's like to truly live the title with King. "It's [awkwardness] just within me, it will never go anywhere. Like, I've always related to just feeling uncomfortable and out of place." Now, five years later, she admits that while that feeling is still there, she has changed a bit since the 2016 interview.
She tells King, "I feel more confident that I belong here. In Hollywood as a storyteller there's a sense of like, 'I know what I'm doing.'"
Well, I think it's safe to say we definitely agree with her because Issa has racked up so many wins. And Gayle King made a point to list a few of them aloud, like, a plethora of magazine covers, starring and producing in multiple films, securing the bag with an eight-figure exclusive Warner Media deal, and marrying her bae in a secret wedding! But through it all, Issa feels her and the cast's true mission is to create opportunities for others. And when making Insecure, she was intentional about doing just that.
At the start of the series Issa wasn't sure it would be successful but wanted to make sure that regardless, it was helpful to the cast and crew. "At least the people who worked on our show would've had experience. Which is like, the excuse that Hollywood always gives for why they don't hire people of color, and Black people specifically." She continues, "At least they could say 'we worked on one season of an HBO show,' and hopefully get another job, but we were fortunate enough to get five seasons, and watch people grow."
King also made a point to note that Insecure gave many of the actors, staff, and crew their first opportunity at a show on this level, to which she inquired if Issa marvels at that at all. Rae responded beautifully, saying:
"We changed each other's lives. So in that way, I'm just appreciative to have grown with them, to be in the trenches with them, and we have so many memories. We all have the mission to open the door and keep the door open–to make sure that we create a pipeline."
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO
It's encouraging and inspiring to see a Black woman who truly understands our stories and is telling them in such an authentic and engaging way, and it's why so many of us root for her, the same way she's "rooting for everybody Black." When asked how she feels about setting examples for creatives, she replied, "It means everything, because I know what it meant for me to watch those shows from the '90s and aspire to that and think like, 'Oh this is possible for me to do.' And these are stories that people care about, matter, and shape me. So to be able to do that for another generation, I'm extremely proud of that."
I'll be honest, I'm really going to miss Insecure Sundays, but it's encouraging to know that Issa has so much more in the works.
"I still feel like a beginner in many ways. I have so much more to do," she says firmly.
Featured image by Emma McIntyre/WireImage