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Issa Rae Looks Like A Superhero On The Latest Cover Of 'Rolling Stone', Mostly Because She Is One

The cultural phenom is nothing short of phenomenal.

Issa Rae

It's pretty understood that the culture perceives Issa Rae as a giant; a cultural phenomenon. And we hold her on that pedestal because she just so happens to perceive the culture as exactly the same. She puts absolutely nothing before us, and we trust that about her. We know how she gets down, and we know that her pivot game is incomparable. She is purely unparalleled.

And if diversifying everything she gets her hands on doesn't keep her busy enough, she somehow carved the time to speak with Rolling Stone for the cover of their May issue.

DFree / Shutterstock.com

Donning a latex-tight metallic blue turtleneck, she reminded me of a superhero. Or maybe it's just that that's how I always see her. But anyway, there she was.

In the interview, which took place at her pool over a bottle of prosecco, she discusses everything from work-life balance and being a better friend, to her start in entertainment and wishing she never told the world so much about herself.

Continue reading for our favorite highlights!

Issa on balancing multiple projects with being a good friend:

While admitting she was striving for more balance a few years ago, Issa says she failed--especially now that her workload is at its heaviest. And sis is starting to believe that she may just be built this way.

"I'm just always thinking about work. I was always like this. [In the past] it was like, 'I need to work to make sure I have the means of affording a place to live.' [Or] 'This didn't work, what's the next thing I can do?' I think that's just how my mind works. That's Capricorn shit. Workaholic shit. If you have any suggestions, let me know. I've fallen short because I'm so used to [them] accommodating this in-person dynamic. So this year has tested who I am as a friend and really made me realize, 'Oh, I'm not considerate in this way, and I can do more here.'"

On being a product of "Internet Culture":

"I know how I am as a consumer, as a stan of people, and what I look for. I had the foresight to shield myself from what anybody who was looking for anything on me would try to find, because I know this culture. Internet culture is weird and malicious. I've just worked really hard to protect myself from the ugliest parts of it."

On the opportunities that came from 'Awkward Black Girl' and the biggest lesson she's learned in entertainment:

Although ABG is how she got her start in entertainment, the opportunities that came from the series, almost altered the Issa we know today.

"I was so focused on what I felt like fit their network that I didn't focus on the story I wanted to tell," Rae has said. "I was eager to please, and that made my voice kind of irrelevant, and the reason they brought me in in the first place was to have something to say. I had to realize I have a specific point of view, I have a specific story to tell, and I need to tap into that."
"This industry is built on exclusion. Knowing people is such a currency, and if you don't know anybody, you're just left to fend for yourself."

On new City Girls'-based television show:

"[Jermaine Dupri] coming out and criticizing female rappers for only talking about their pussy, I was just like, 'This is so unfair.' So that inspired the writing of it."

She continues:

"I guess I feel more empowered in the film and television industry," she says. "We have our own problems, but it is nothing like the music industry. I'm in awe every single day of just, 'Y'all can do this? This can happen, and it's still going to happen?' I have a lot of catching up to do. That feels exhausting in a different way."

On the new season of 'Insecure':

"We're not telling a Covid story. I had fatigue."

Same, sis.

On being protective of her personal life: 

One of Issa's biggest regrets is that she told so much about her personal life in her book, which she only wrote because she never expected so many people to read it. And sis talked about it all, from her experience catfishing random men in chat rooms as a preteen, to her discovery of her dad's affair.

"It felt like I was writing journal entries. The 24- through 27-year-old version of me will live on through a book. My opinions, whatever whimsical thoughts and notions, will live on forever. That's what I don't like about it."

Now, Issa is more, cautious, especially about her engagement to businessman bae, Louis Diame (which she never introduces to the interviewer, but is present).

"I just feel superprotective of any relationship I'm in. That's come from observing and making fun of people over the years who broadcast the most intimate parts of their relationships, then are left with egg on their face. I call them the 'me and my boo' people. Let me embarrass myself. Don't let a nigga embarrass you. That's always been my focus."

A wordddddd, sis!

Click here to read the full interview.

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Featured image by DFree / Shutterstock.com

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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