Jo-Issa Rae Diop, known as Issa Rae, is undeniably before her time. After all, she's an Emmy-nominated star, she is gearing up for the fifth and final season of Insecure, she has her own music label with Atlantic Records (Raedio), and she co-owns Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen in Inglewood. And on top of it all, she still manages to be a phenomenon, holding the entire culture on her back. She's in takeover mode. And because we know that we would be in good hands, we are more than willing to let her have it all.
With this year being the 10-year anniversary of The Mis-adventures of Awkward Black Girl, the show that catapulted her into stardom, Rae has proven her worth and longevity in this game. And because of this, everyone wants to get their hands on whatever best advice she has to offer to anyone interested in taking a similar path. Her most profound advice entered the chat during an interview with Forbes. When asked the most necessary skill for her career as she transferred from actress to entrepreneur, she said:
"I learned to not be threatened by people who want to do the same thing that I do because it's more fun when you have people like you around you."
"I love working with people that are smarter, better, better thinkers, more creative and more skilled than I am because it only helped to sharpen you and what you had in your toolbox."
And listen, if you're looking for gems—I mean true, real life, relatable gems—then Rae is stocked with them. This response was reminiscent of the simple, but powerful advice she had divulged in the past, when discussing networking:
“We have a tendency of trying to network up, but it’s really about networking across.” -@IssaRae Today’s mindset:… https://t.co/thiZpAM5J2— 1AM Creative (@1AM Creative) 1508164113
Because the mindset should always be that we ALL can eat.
In the interview, she also discussed how she's grown over the span of her career, how she came up with the name for ABG, and advice she has for budding creatives.
That advice was simple:
"Start with what you want to see. I started in a place of 'what does the industry need?' and 'what is there not enough of?,' and they weren't necessarily stories I was passionate about or things that I was tied to. I would say to focus on the things that you would absolutely die if you don't see it on screen.
"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 gotta start it."
Jo-Issa Rae Diop, we truly don't deserve you.
Click here to read the full Forbes interview.
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