For International Women's Day, Issa Rae Talks Intentionally Using 'Black' And Riding For Us In The Boardroom
We all know Issa Rae has been the queen of Black girl magic, making "awkward" sexy and bankable in Hollywood and changing the narrative of what Black women look, sound, and act like in mainstream media. (We'll never forget that infamous red-carpet moment when "rooting for everybody Black" became the wave.) So it's no surprise that she lent her voice to a much-needed International Women's Day conversation about Black women in the workplace on one of the most pivotal social media platforms for professionals and entrepreneurs: LinkedIn.
It's also no surprise that Black women face added pressures and challenges in corporate America that have only worsened with COVID-19. New LinkedIn research has found that 1 in 4 Black women (26 percent) feel they may face retaliation for speaking up about racial justice issues or topics around diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, and 37 percent feel their workplace "talks a lot about creating a more diverse workplace, but doesn't make any material changes to policies or culture to make it happen."
Image via Giphy
Issa joined an in-depth conversation with Betty Liu, executive vice chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, and LinkedIn news editor-at-large Caroline Fairchild as part of the platform's Conversations for Change series, and y'all know she dropped some keep-it-real jewels that are super-relevant today more than ever.
Check out what Issa had to say about how white allies should really go about putting action behind words, being the only Black woman in the room, and handling issues of race and inclusivity with her own team:
On leading conversations with her team about racial injustice:
"I had team members that came up to me and wanted us as a company to do something, and they inspired me like, yes we are in the spotlight, we should be facilitating conversations and facilitating action. For me it came down to that. We had had so many conversations, and so many conversations were happening just even within the media, and the frustration and despair that I felt was like, is anything going to change this time? And so to know that we were in a position to at least direct and guide people to organizations that were making that change, to actively go out there and make our voices heard just really united us as a company.
"And you know, not everybody in our company is Black, so to educate some people and to again facilitate these conversations so that no one was judged for their ignorance was really important to us. So, that really united us in a way that I'll carry with me for a long time, and will continue to be active about those conversations and the intentions behind some of our projects and initiatives."
Image via Giphy
Issa on finding community as the only Black professional in the room:
"You can't always wait to be approached. Because that was my issue, of just like, 'Well nobody even tried so why should I try?' And now I've made assumptions about you, based off of what you haven't done. So, I think what I've learned is I have to at least extend myself in a way before I make a judgement. And then, if I extend myself and then recognize that there's no one there to receive me, then I can find a community.
"But for me, it comes down to finding a community of people who understand and relate, and I understand that that can be hard within your work environment, but extending outside of your work environment and finding other people and establishing a community there to bounce thoughts and ideas and solutions off of is so, so important."
On talking to white colleagues about the real meaning of allyship:
"A lot of my white colleagues have come up to me just to discuss what they could do, and, you know, I'm always open - some of us can get frustrated, any minority, when you're just like I feel like I have to learn so much about your culture and you, and I don't necessarily ask you questions, I do the research. And so for me it's like, I hope you do the research before you come to me, because I'm exhausted. I don't want to spend time like going down the line of everything that's wrong, I think you have to do the reading and the research on your own. I'm gonna be an open vessel, I'm gonna be patient, but just know that up front. And so to receive those texts constantly about, 'What can I do? How can I help?' I'm like, 'I hope you research this first.'
"There are so many, so many conversations where you can just find out, but for the most part, I have just been like this is where you can take action, this is where you can donate money, and kind of giving a 'frequently asked questions' checklist to colleagues. I've even found that forums, even with LinkedIn, I'm sure you guys are very much aware of how much of a forum that became post- these protests, and people just want a place to express themselves and to learn, and the more accessible that is, the more progress you'll have."
Image via Giphy
Issa on the importance of the word 'Black':
"It just reaffirmed what I knew and what I felt personally. Just that we didn't have this representation and we didn't have these stories being told about us, and there's a constant encouragement to kind of erase Blackness in an effort to integrate and fit in, and I think what we felt was just like, 'No, I want to be Black and fit in.'
"I want to acknowledge my Blackness while still being able to be acknowledged in society. So that only affirmed like, I want to continue to create these stories where I'm intentionally highlighting the Black experience, or one of many Black experiences, and that continues to be my priority."
For the full talk with Issa Rae and more on LinkedIn's Conversations for Change, visit their website.
Featured image by DFree / Shutterstock.com
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How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Halle Bailey Says She Appreciates That Everyone Wants To Protect Her, But She's Got This
Halle Bailey and her boyfriend of over a year, rapper DDG, are young and in love. We learned the two were dating in January 2022 after they were spotted together at Usher's residency concert in Vegas. DDG later confirmed the romance that March when he made it all IG official with a birthday shoutout to his bae. And since then, they've been seemingly inseparable, attending public events together, most recently, for the Vanity Fair Oscar party as Halle prepares for the premiere of her career-defining role in The Little Mermaid.
While there, DDG gave flowers to his bae, telling PEOPLE, "I'm very proud of her. And I'm just happy to see it. I feel like sometimes I'm even more excited than anybody else. Just seeing it and seeing everything that she dreamed of coming to life, it's really dope."
It's the support for me, m'kay?!
And listen, Halle loves her 'some him' too, showing that she pulls up for his music career by starring in the music video for his single, "If I Want You." "Everyone go watch 'if i want you' by @ddg it's out now ❣️you might see a familiar face 🤭💗," she wrote on an Instagram post. She doubled down on her support, revealing to ESSENCE that she had been "a fan" even before they met, adding to the cocktail of their romance that has captured the hearts of many by simply being two young lovebirds navigating their journey of fame, loyalty, and love for the world to see (and dissect).
Well, that was until a little drama, or ex (his), showed up on their doorstep and publicly tested whether the couple's relationship is what they say it is. And after the dust settled (and a little PR work), Halle hopped on IG Live to basically tell us what's understood between the two of them, does not--and will not--be explained. In fact, after sending comment sections into a frenzy for weeks because the culture was coming to her defense, she let us know that, yeah, she appreciates the love, but she's got this.
When speaking about the new music she's recording she said, "This music that I'm making right now, is a lot about the time, how I felt, when I was filming. I was very independent and on my own but also felt isolated and it's also about what happened when I got back home and being in love and all of that..."
"I just think it's so funny, people getting to see me, you know, being in love, in a relationship...I think because I've grown up in the public eye since I was younger, people just feel like this sort of protective energy that they feel like they have to have with me, which honestly I think is sweet, but it's funny."
Halle also wrote on Twitter in a now-deleted tweet, "the devil is working ♥️ lol please don’t feed into the lies, especially from a third party 💕✨stay blessed everyone."
In other words, it's giving 'nothing-to-see-here-but-I-ain't-the-one-and-he-knows-that-so-we're-not-even-going-to-entertain-this.' And as grateful as Halle is for the continued support she has received, she admits is in the process of setting boundaries surrounding matters outside of her craft.
She touched on the subject again, telling Yahoo!'sThe Unwind, "They still see me as that 13-year-old girl that they first discovered and I understand how if you've been supporting somebody for a long time you get invested in their personal lives," she says.
"It's definitely been a learning experience for me. And the beautiful people that have supported me and stuck with me for a very long time, can continue to support what I do publicly in my business affairs, and I really appreciate that, but everything else is my business. And I have to make that priority."
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Featured image by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic