8635_ExhaleKA_R9_premieresissaLife Lessons:
Issa Rae (VIDEO)

Hey guys! I am EXTREMELY excited to introduce you to a special group of women. As some of you who follow me on Facebook may know, I have been tapped as one of the hosts of a new, original program on Magic Johnson’s Aspire network (check here for local listings). Exhale is a unique talk show featuring views and well, real talk, about issues pertinent to  African American women. It featured strong women not only in front of the camera but behind the scenes too; I feel incredibly honored and blessed to have worked on it.

So I this week I want to introduce you to my co-hosts and the women behind the concept. First up, Issa Rae. Issa is an Internet sensation! You may know her from her wildly popular web series, Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and she has a whole lot of stuff brewing. So take a moment to get to know Issa Rae and be sure to watch Wednesdays on Aspire!

Are you happy at the moment?

I’m extremely happy. I have ALWAYS had so much to be grateful for, even when I felt like I wasn’t on the right path, or even in the midst of tragedy, I always try to put things in perspective. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and things could always be worse, so it’s always to our benefit to appreciate what we have and to strive for what you want.

If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

I would say, “Girl, stay focused and be patient.” Honestly, I feel like by the age of 16, I had JUST figured out how lame I was and started to really come into my own. I stopped trying SO hard to impress people, which was a big deal for me. So 16-year-old me, “Just shut the —- up and accept who you are. It’ll pay off later.”

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

To appreciate the people around me. To not take for granted the people who help me along my journey every day. Friends, family, co-workers, supporters.

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

I want to have a show on TV, to write and develop a feature film and to reach one million subscribers on YouTube.

What’s your secret to happiness?

Stop seeing the negative in everything and appreciate the positive. Also, surround yourself with good people. I think, too often, we’re afraid to let people out of our lives who aren’t contributing positively. We don’t realize that some people may be toxic to your environment. I’m blessed to have a wonderful family, amazing friends and a great team. So that’s a HUGE part of why I’m so happy.

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What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Family time. Visiting Senegal. Lounging with friends and talking about trivial things. Reading.

What’s your biggest regret?

Not spending enough time with my aunt before she passed. That still hurts.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

I’m not there yet!

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

My horrible, HORRIBLE habit of procrastinating and my horrible, HORRIBLE habit of breaking my diet/exercise regimen. I just need to be more disciplined overall.

Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

The fact that I’ve taken risks to pursue my dreams and the fact that I won’t take “no” for an answer.

When were you happiest?

Now. I’m very happy right now. I’m alive!

What ten words best describe you?

Happy. Kind. Funny. Shy. Empathetic. Caring. Bossy. Sensitive. Immature. Awkward.



Issa Rae, the multitalented CEO and Owner of Issa Rae Productions, is a pioneer in the fight against the narrow, mainstream portrayal of people of color in the media. With a dedicated and passionate team, and supportive fan base, Issa Rae Productions lends a voice to a demographic that largely goes unheard. The wide-spread success of Issa Rae’s webseries, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” has unanimously placed Issa Rae at the forefront of the digital web revolution.

As a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient, Root 100 Most Influential Person and winner of the 2012 Shorty Award for Best Web Show for ABG, Issa Rae has built up a following of eager and loyal fans that helped her Kickstarter.com campaign become a huge success. In July 2011 Issa Rae and her production team nearly doubled their goal of $30,000 in just 30 days.

After only one season, in early 2012, Issa Rae and ABG caught the attention of renowned artist and tastemaker, Pharrell Williams. Pharrell, who immediately saw eye-to-eye with Issa’s distinctive vision, invited the highly anticipated ABG Season 2 to air on his new Google Channel, “i am OTHER” in Summer 2012. In Fall 2012, Rae had the opportunity to work with Shonda Rhimes and ABC Studios to develop a half-hour comedy series called, “I Hate L.A. Dudes.” Rae is currently working with Tracey Edmonds and AlrightTV to release a musical web series called, “The Choir.” She has several award winning web series on her YouTube channel, most notably Fly Guys present The ‘F’ Word, a vlog series entitled Ratchetpiece Theatre and a collaboration with Black&SexyTV called “Roomieloverfriends.”

Rae is signed with UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment and is currently slated to release a book of essays with Simon & Schuster in 2014.