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Issa Rae Wants You To Know Manners & Money Don't Always Mix

Manners and money don't always mix, and in a recent interview with and Issa Rae explained how she learned this firsthand.

Issa Rae

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.

The Insecure creator explained that although she may have been naive when she entered the business, she now is completely aware of her worth and her personal obligation to add tax. She explained:

"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:

Successful creatives aren't immune to self-doubt and Issa Rae says that this is big facts. In the interview, Issa broke down how her insecurity and negative self-talk almost blocked her bag:

"[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 Getty Images.

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Tisha Campbell has a new show on Netflix called Uncoupled which stars Neil Patrick Harris as his character learns to rebuild his life after a breakup with his long-term partner. While Tisha’s character may not be going through a breakup, the veteran actress has had a similar experience in real life. The Martin star divorced the L.A.’s Finest star Duane Martin after 22 years of marriage and 27 years together in total. Soon after the divorce was finalized, Tisha claimed that Duane left her with $7 to her name but now she is in the restoration phase of her life.

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Black Women, We Deserve More

When the NYT posted an article this week about the recent marriage of a Black woman VP of a multi-billion-dollar company and a Black man who took her on a first date at the parking lot of a Popeyes, the reaction on social media was swift and polarizing. The two met on Hinge and had their parking lot rendezvous after he’d canceled their first two dates. When the groom posted a photo from their wedding on social media, he bragged about how he never had “pressure” to take her on “any fancy dates or expensive restaurants.”

It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

That's right, the first pandemic I lived through was not Covid, but the pandemic of the Black male relationship expert. I was young – thirteen to be exact – when Steve Harvey published his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Though he was still just a stand-up comedian, oversized suit hoarder, and man on his third marriage at the time, his relationship advice was taken as the gospel truth.

The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

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Featured image: Getty Images

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