I was raised in the south, where forgetting to address your elder as "ma'am" or "sir" is a mortal sin, and "please" and "thank you" are sprinkled at the end of sentences like salt and pepper. But as I get older, I've learned that manners and money don't always mix, and in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Issa Rae explained how she learned this firsthand.
"I've definitely demanded. Yvonne joked before the Emmy nominations came out, 'Girl, I told all my agents, 'Don't make no deals until after Tuesday or Monday,' whenever the announcements were, 'because our price is going up or down.' So there is something to that, too, of just realizing your worth."
"Also, seeing how little these white people care about asking for more than they're worth in many cases.You can't be polite or tiptoe, or be modest about those things. You're seeing these nine-, 10-figure deals out there. I have a great team that also is not afraid to ask for beyond my worth. I have an amazing Black lawyer who is constantly being like, 'No, I'm going to get you better.' Or, 'No, I'm going to make sure. I heard that so-and-so made this, you're about to make this.'"
For more gems from Issa on how to align your business mind and get your business mind all the way together, scroll below!
On Managing Self-Doubt:
"[With] 'Insecure', it took so long and every draft was like, 'No, this isn't it. No, this isn't it. No, this isn't it.' I was just like, 'Oh, OK. Maybe this is the end of the road for me,' especially when I'm investing in this big venture, which ended up being ColorCreative, and spent all my money and didn't have anything. I remember being on the set of a pilot we were filming ['Words with Girls'] and getting the call that HBO was not feeling the latest draft and I was losing Larry [Wilmore, 'Insecure''s first showrunner]. I was like, 'This isn't going to happen for me, and I just did all of this for nothing.'"
"Thankfully, Larry leaving for The Nightly Show, as much as I love him, was the best thing that could've happened because it forced me to be like, 'OK. It's not a workplace comedy,' and having a conversation with HBO was really helpful just in terms of centering it. It was just like, 'I'm going to put everything that I'm going through out on the table in this pilot. If they say no, at least I tried, and fuck it.'"
On Accepting Constructing Criticism:
"I'm open to all criticism. I feel like you have to be, to be in this industry. There are Black critics that I value what they think because I read what they read, or I read what they write about everything. I love it. I can see this point of view, and that's so interesting. It may be reflected in something else that I do down the line, or it may spark inspiration for conversations that we may have. We feed each other in that really interesting way."
"But let's be real. There are a couple where I'm like, 'Oh, this person just comes for me,' or 'This person doesn't like me.' You're putting your personal life into it. You're a blogger, not a critic at this point. It's an art form."
On Keeping Business & Personal Life Personal:
Last year, it was announced that Issa and her longtime boyfriend, businessman Louis Diame were engaged to be married and had us shook. Issa, who is normally tight-lipped when it comes to her personal life, said that we can expect it to stay that way––because it's none of our damn business.
"I guess because it's private. Whose business is it? I realized I just don't like to be the subject of conversations if it doesn't have to do with my work. I've always been like that, where I'd be dating someone and my friends would find out six months later. Like, 'B*tch, what the f*ck? Why don't we know this?' So it's just always been that I want to vet situations for myself. I really value that part of my life a lot."
To read Issa's full interview, click here!
Featured image by Instagram/@issarae/Erik Carter/THR.