Issa Rae On Why Shutting The F*ck Up Can Be So Valuable In Business
Issa Rae

Issa Rae On Why Shutting The F*ck Up Can Be So Valuable In Business

Talk is cheap and Issa Rae wants you to know that in business, sometimes shutting the f*ck up is the best strategy.

As an artist, I'm unapologetically sensitive about my shit and while this is common for women like me, it's also prohibitive to an effective creative process. Constructive criticism can be healthy as long as you're quiet long enough to hear it, and Issa Rae recently spoke about this in detail at the Patreon Assembly Event.

Earlier this month, the 34-year-old actress announced the launch of her new record label, Raedio, and also premiered the trailer for her new romantic comedy co-starring Lakeith Stanfield, proving that there's no industry that this creative is afraid to delve into. But according to Issa, the key to her multi-hyphenate hustle has been keeping her circle tight AF:

"One of the things I'm deathly afraid of is being surrounded by yes people. The more successful you are, the more that happens actively and constantly."

To Issa, although constructive criticism may be hard to hear, growth requires you to learn how to be more receptive to the thoughts of others. The loudest person in the room is rarely the smartest and Issa says that this is especially true when it comes to collaborations in business. There's nothing worse than working in a toxic work environment, especially when you're the one that's making it toxic and sometimes the smartest thing you can say is absolutely nothing. She explained:

"I had to fight that. Even if there's a visceral reaction, I have to let them get it all out. Maybe there's a piece that can work its way into a scene. Shutting the fuck up has proven so valuable in collaborating with others."

Creativity hit different when you're self-aware, and Issa says that coming to this realization has been a game-changer in her professional life:

"I'm impulsive. I also have tunnel vision. I get so wrapped up that sometimes I forget you have your own goals, you have your own vision that you're hoping to achieve."

Thanks to her newfound perspective, Issa says that she's been able to change her attitude at work for the better. Along with allowing a safe space for feedback (both negative and positive), Issa says that she also makes sure to give everyone space to do what they do best:

"I tend to let the creatives and the professionals in those departments go play, and then we'll pull back as necessary."

Taking other people's opinions with a grain of salt is a superpower, one that Issa says she's still learning to master to this day.

"I listen a lot, check-in, but as an ongoing presence, I feel pretty overwhelmed by that. I try to create an environment where people feel comfortable complaining, and they do, a lot."

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Featured image by Getty Images for Elle.




As they say, create the change you want to see in this world, besties. That’s why xoNecole linked up with Hyundai for the inaugural ItGirl 100 List, a celebration of 100 Genzennial women who aren’t afraid to pull up their own seats to the table. Across regions and industries, these women embody the essence of discovering self-value through purpose, honey! They're fierce, they’re ultra-creative, and we know they make their cities proud.


You know, I always find it quite fascinating that whenever the topic of cheating comes up, it’s assumed that damn near everyone in the world does it and that women barely do it when the reality is that, reportedly, only 20 percent of men cheat and 13 percent of women do (both ways, that is a minority, for sure). And then, when the topic of marriage is on the table, while there is constant dialogue about men being afraid to say “I do,” somehow what doesn’t come up nearly as much is the fact that it’s 70 percent of women who initiate divorce.