Quantcast
Rich Fury/Getty Images

Issa Rae On Having Multiple Streams Of Income: 'Because, Why The F*ck Not?'

Issa's motivation behind all of her hustles is a desire to level up her equity.

Issa Rae

A good sis recently filled me in on the dangers of only having one hustle and I was quickly forced to reevaluate all of my life choices.

media.giphy.com

While I'm a jack of many trades, I've discovered that I haven't given myself the opportunity to be lucrative at more than one at at a time and if my one stream of income were to magically dry up, all of my other material assets would quickly evaporate into thin air and I would be out here looking crazy AF.

The truth is, no matter fat the check may be, your bag is never truly secured if you only have one source of income, but in a recent interview with Billboard, Issa Rae let us in on the secret to leveling up your business acumen and creating generational wealth: ownership. That's it. That's the whole secret.

For the past 365 days, Issa has been booked, busy, and serving up big boss energy with her latest business endeavors. Along with collaborating with LA-based creatives to open a coffee shop in Inglewood, Issa also invested in a streaming analytics business and launched a recording label, giving the term #NoDaysOff a whole new meaning, but her motivation behind all of her hustles is a desire to level up her equity. She explained:

"That's a huge part of being able to have longevity — to have a stake in your own career is to own your masters. I understand, especially when you become fucking Taylor Swift, you want some sort of ownership over your work. But coming from the TV side, I don't own 'Insecure'. HBO owns that at the end of the day. I have to have my own distribution arm to be able to own my work. I think now artists are so much more hip to the fact that 'Oh, I don't ever have to sign with anyone unless I absolutely need the money,' and even then it's easier to negotiate."

When it comes to managing multiple streams of income, The Photograph actress says that her most important tool has been knowledge, most of which she acquired on the internet. Issa explained that like most entrepreneurs, her hustle came out of a sense of necessity and today, she attributes her choice of becoming a boss to her not having a reason *not* to.

"Even from a young age, my mom used to call me bossy. Only now do I realize that I wanted to be that. I wanted to be a boss because, why the fuck not? I liked feeling like I was working or in business. I liked feeling like a leader. And it is not always fun, by any means, but there's an element of accomplishment that I feel in executing projects."

Issa told Billboard that ultimately, her mission is to become a boss ass hybrid of Oprah, Diddy, and Ellen, who are all inspirations to the 35-year-old producer in their own right:

"I always say that I model myself after Diddy, Ellen and Oprah: Oprah for being able to diversify her businesses and being a major influencer in that way; Ellen for being able to make a business out of being herself; and Diddy for his business acumen in expanding beyond hip-hop. I've looked to them in terms of ways to make my own imprint."

Read the full article here!

Featured image by Rich Fury/Getty Images

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Today is Malcolm X’s birthday. As an icon of Black liberation movements, his words are often rallying cries and guideposts in struggle. In 2020, after the officers who executed Breonna Taylor were not charged with her murder, my timeline was flooded with people reposting Malcolm’s famous quote: “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”

Keep reading...Show less

As her fame continues to rise, Tiffany Haddish has remained a positive light for her fans with her infectious smile and relatable story. Since Girls Trip, fans have witnessed the comedian become a modern-day Cinderella due to the many opportunities that have come her way and the recognition she began to receive.

Keep reading...Show less

We’ve all been there: Exhausted, lacking motivation, on edge, or simply not feeling like working at all. And we might have even used up all of our sick days, not to rest from a cold or injury, but just to get a bit of relief from those job or business responsibilities. Sometimes, you're not able to shake that nagging feeling of gloom, eventually finding yourself in a toxic pattern of unhealthy habits and behaviors. There's a larger issue that goes way beyond just needing a break.

Keep reading...Show less

CultureCon is one of the top conferences for creative people of color to attend to meet fellow changemakers. The event, which is presented by the Creative Collective NYC, has attracted some of our favorite entertainers as keynote speakers such as Tracee Ellis Ross, Chloe x Halle, Michael B. Jordan, and many more.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive: Jay Ellis Shares ‘Full-Circle’ Moment With His Parents & His Self-Care Ritual

Staying grounded is one of the actor's biggest priorities.

Latest Posts