Issa Rae Talks About Knowing Her Worth As A Black Woman: "You Can't Be Polite, Or Tiptoe"

Issa Rae Talks About Knowing Her Worth As A Black Woman
August 20, 2020 - 04:16 / Hayley Paskevich

In a new interview, Issa Rae said she's proud of "opening the door" for other Black artists! The star of HBO's Insecure also talked about pushing for the pay grade she deserves, and shared how the industry can do better. This is what she said!

Issa Rae isn't going to settle for anything less than she deserves, because she knows her worth as a Black woman in the industry! As Entertainment Tonight shares, Rae talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the kind of legacy she wants to leave behind, and 

Rae says Denzel Washington "has meant so much to me"

Rae opened up about being proud of her impact, sharing that Denzel Washington has inspired her hopes for her future legacy. "For me, my longevity will be opening the door for others. Still being here," she shared. "Denzel-ness. Alfre Woodard-ness. I mean, Denzel is a good model because he belongs to Black people and has never denied who he is and his roots."

She went on to say why Washington in particular has influenced her. "The stuff that he’s done underground to help young Black actors, to create a pipeline for them. He’s also been a producer and a director and is just so revered and has a Blackass family," Rae said. "I got to go to his AFI tribute, and I was just reminded, 'Man, this man has meant so much to me, my mom, my aunt, my grandmother, and that matters to me.' There’s a legacy there."

Issa Rae attends the world premiere of The Photograph on February 11, 2020.

Rae talks about importance of realizing her worth financially

Rae also addressed the fact that she's aware of her worth as a Black woman in the industry, and has asked for the money she knows she deserves! "I’ve definitely demanded," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "Yvonne [Orji] joked before the Emmy nominations came out, 'Girl, I told all my agents, 'Don’t make no deals until after Tuesday or Monday,' whenever the announcements were, because our price is going up or down.'

"So there is something to that, too, of just realizing your worth," Rae explained. "Seeing how little these white people care about asking for more than they’re worth in many cases. You can’t be polite, or tiptoe, or be modest about those things. You’re seeing these nine-, 10-figure deals out there." 

She mentioned that she's fortunate enough to work with people on the legal side of things determined to help her push for the pay she deserves. "I have a great team that also is not afraid to ask for beyond my worth," Rae shared. "I have an amazing Black lawyer who is constantly being like, 'No, I’m going to get you better.' Or, 'No, I’m going to make sure. I heard that so-and-so made this, you’re about to make this.'"

Rae talks about the "intimacy" and creative control at HBO

Rae also mentioned her HBO show Insecure, saying that she was grateful the show's small executive team allowed her to retain creative control. "There’s no question that some of the input that we would get would be different. I’m also really happy that there aren’t a lot of executives on our show," she said.

"Part of the intimacy is that we have two people, where at a network, you have two people here, three people here, two people there, and it’s just so many voices," Rae explained. "Can HBO improve in terms of their hiring practices? A thousand percent. They got to."

As Entertainment Tonight shares, Rae received 8 Emmy nominations for Insecure. She also has more projects with HBO in the works, one of which she's producing with her own company! Through Issa Rae Productions, she's slated to produce a documentary about the history of Black television, called Seen & Heard. She's also involved in Rap Sh*t, which is a series about female lyricists.