Last week, Issa Rae sat down with The Late Show host, Stephen Colbert, to discuss adulting, the release of Insecure Season 3, and her Emmy nomination – yasss.
Colbert asked the creative extraordinaire a question all of us that consider her career goals might be thinking: "Now that you're an established, award-winning actor in your own right, do people come up asking for advice from you?"
In response, Issa shared:
"I tend to be afraid of like upsetting people, and that, will get you nowhere... Especially, when you are trying to create a show. As a showrunner and being in the industry, just as a woman, once you're labeled 'difficult', your career is kind of over because then it's like everyone is like 'she's hard to work with, beware' and you don't get many chances to fail."
Her golden advice to counter and tune out all of that noise? Well, she gave a word passed down to her from Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay, Mara Brock Akiil, and Debbie Allen - some of Hollywood's most prominent black women who run the show behind the scenes:
"The advice from them is: Don't be afraid to be a bi**h. And, it's so true!"
Thank you, Issa, for setting the record straight.
If we're too reserved, we're standoffish. If we're too ambitious, we're bossy. If we're too opinionated, we're difficult or a b*tch. Trying to juggle and mitigate every stereotype about black women can keep us stagnant, afraid to move forward or backwards, and always prioritizing how others feel above our own needs.
Like Issa and her role models, we need to feel empowered in our decision to break free – from the self-doubt, from the criticism, from the fear. We are more than stereotypes and if being a boss woman means being a b*tch, then y'all better make sure that "B" is capitalized.
In short, in a world that loves to stereotype black women and limit the heights that we can reach, put the haters on mute and don't be afraid to go for it. Your legacy depends on it.
Check out the full interview below.
Featured image by AP/Taylor Jewell