50 Best Issa Rae Quotes About Diversity In The Entertainment Industry

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Issa Rae is an African-American writer, producer, and actress, who graduated from Stanford University. She is well known for starring and co-writing the HBO hit television series, Insecure, and our collection of some of the best Issa Rae quotes below prove how powerful and influential her voice can be.

Insecure shatters the stereotypical media portrayal of a black woman. Rae’s character, Issa Dee, isn’t the “independent black woman who doesn’t need a man,” an “ angry black woman,” a “helper,” or there for inclusivity sake — Issa Dee is far more complex. Insecure shows that minority women can be awkward, career-oriented — and still have space in their life for love. It shows the struggle of Issa trying to balance it all, which is relatable to a multitude of women, minority or not.

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Most everyday women don’t have to fit perfectly into a stereotype, so why should TV or movie characters?

When you think of women who portray multidimensional characters, you seldom think of black women. That is what Rae is out to change in the industry. She is creating a space for minorities, specifically black women, to be portrayed as more than just one type of person and to be able to hold leadership positions in the business.

Rae wants to diversify the entertainment industry. She realizes that it is needed both in front of and behind the camera. That’s why she’s not only an actress — representation in both areas is key. If you want better black characters on TV and in film, who better than black creators to encapsulate the experience?

Instead of waiting for someone to write her a multidimensional role, Rae did it herself! I think Issa Rae is a great example of a woman who saw a need and found a way to start meeting it.

If you’re in need of black women empowerment or motivation to keep fighting for equality, take a look at the collection of Issa Rae quotes below:

1. The true conversation about implementing inclusion should start with white people.

“Journalists and everybody else need to start asking white men these questions like, ‘How do you feel about diversity? What are you doing to combat it? What's the next step,’ as opposed to asking people of color.”​

2. What you should’ve done in the past doesn’t matter.

“Why don’t people understand that nobody wants to hear what they should have done when something has already happened?”

3. All positions need more diversity.

"Diversity is still a huge issue. We need more people of color in positions of power to green light content. If you want to see content of color, then it has to be in the hands of people of color."

4. Non-black people don’t have the right to decide what revokes your black card.

"It's one thing when other African-Americans try to threaten my race card, but when people outside of my ethnicity have the audacity to question how 'down' I am because of the bleak, stereotypical picture pop culture has painted for me as a black woman? Unacceptable."

5. Be yourself.

"Stop trying so hard to be someone you're not."

7. Racism is the defamation of the black race.

"The Internet has provided small communities for racism online, and people feel free to do it. Ultimately, there should be some consequence - if you promote your racism online then there should be a consequence.”

8. Don’t allow others to question your blackness.

“When I was a teenager, for example, others questioned my blackness because some of the life choices I made weren’t considered to be “black” choices: joining the swim team when it is a known fact that “black people don’t swim,” or choosing to become a vegetarian when blacks clearly love chicken.”

9. The more educated a black woman becomes, there are less suitable black men to marry.

“There is a widening gap between the education of black women and men, which doesn’t leave very many “suitable” suitors. Unfortunately, the higher one’s degree, as a black woman, the lower your chances are of getting married.”

10. Normalize enjoying alone time.

“Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t want to die alone, but spending quality time with myself 60 to 70 percent of the day is my idea of Mecca.”

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11. Mainstream culture imitates black culture but refuses to share the burden of being black.

“Everybody wants to be hood, but nobody really wants to be hood.”

12. The natural hair movement allows ethnic women to embrace their natural textures.

“The hair hierarchy rates worth by length and texture of hair. The longer, silkier, and more European your hair, the higher your worth. The shorter, kinkier, and more African your hair? Kill thyself. “

13. Black people must take initiative to portray themselves authentically in film and television.

“The discussion of representation is one that has been repeated over and over again, and the solution has always been that it’s up to us to support, promote, and create the images that we want to see.”

14. Don't limit yourself.

“That is my worst nightmare [being limited]. I want to be able to flex other muscles and see what else I can do."

15. The correct pronunciation of a black person’s name is determined by them.

“In high school, I found no burden in correcting people. It wasn’t their fault that they didn’t know, and there was no harm done. My annoyance would emerge when people would take it upon themselves to correct me in the pronunciation of my own name!”

16. You can look past looks, but not a bad personality.

“His face looked like God said 'I just... I can't. I'm tired. Let me see what I can do with these leftovers.' I don't ever call people ugly and if his personality didn't match his appearance, then his looks wouldn't be an issue.”

17. Black characters on TV are seldom written as multidimensional characters.

"The black characters on TV are the sidekicks, or they're insignificant. You could put all the black sidekicks on one show, and it would be the most boring, one-dimensional show ever. Even look at the black women on 'Community' and 'Parks and Recreation' - they are the archetype of the large black women on television. Snide and sassy."

18. Write what you know.

"It's a bit cliche, but you can't go wrong by writing what you know. Even if you're a horrible writer, your own knowledge and experience is unrivaled. Nobody knows what you know like you know what you know. The way you see things is pretty unique."

19. Rely on others when you don't have all the answers.

"It's really great to know that I can count on other people to have answers when I don't."

20. Use what others underestimate about you as a driving force for success.

"A part of me hates being underestimated but loves to be underestimated because I'm driven by proving people wrong.”

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21. End the comparison game.

“Stop comparing herself to other people. I compare myself a lot to others. Sometimes, we feel like, 'Why is that not my opportunity?' But what's meant for you is meant for only you.”

22. Be proud of your history.

“I never really had to put much thought into my race, and neither did anybody else. I knew I was black. I knew there was a history that accompanied my skin color, and my parents taught me to be proud of it. End of story.”

23. Confidence is feeling good about what you’re doing.

“Confidence comes from creating something and knowing what I'm supposed to be doing and feeling like I'm good at what I'm supposed to be doing.”

24. Be open-minded.

“I'm always tempted to say, 'Nah, that won't work.' But I think you should be willing to try ideas out before saying no. Be open-minded.”

25. All of our journeys are unique.

“You feel like everybody's surpassing you, and everybody's doing better than you are. That's just not the case. Everybody has their own journey, and your journey is yours."

26. Just because an insensitive comment is a joke, doesn’t mean it’s not racist.

“I've met a lot of people in the past, I've gone to schools, you know, encountered different people who think that it's OK to make comments, insensitive comments about your race because they're joking. And think that if they're joking and they say it, you know, good-naturedly, that things will fly.”

27. Be bomb to succeed.

"In order to eventually succeed, you have to bomb."

28. Support black people.

“I'm rooting for everybody black.”

29. Don’t dim your light for others.

“As women we tend to downplay ourselves. We tend to dim our light and we’re kind of conditioned socially to be humble.”

30. Where your dollars go are a direct reflection of what you support.

"It’s clear that our dollars (whether through boycotting or through united contributions) are sometimes the loudest way to make our voices heard. We will stand together and we will help our own until we’re able to effectively change this system for the better.”

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31. Entrepreneurs are innovators.

“Entrepreneur means I did that sh*t by myself.”

32. If there isn’t a space for you to be creative, create it yourself.

“I just feel like it’s so important to have these spaces where you feel safe where you can be creative, and have a sense of comfort. To know that it’s your space.”

33. Find role models.

“I always say that I model myself after Diddy, Ellen, and Oprah: Oprah for being able to diversify her businesses and being a major influencer in that way; Ellen for being able to make a business out of being herself; and Diddy for his business acumen in expanding beyond hip-hop. I’ve looked to them in terms of ways to make my own imprint.”

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34. Women should be called bossy, because they too can be bosses.

“I wanted to be a boss because, why the f**k not? I liked feeling like I was working or in business. I liked feeling like a leader. And it is not always fun, by any means, but there’s an element of accomplishment that I feel in executing projects.”

35. Take advantage of the opportunities given to you.

“This moment feels like a lot of opportunities are being presented to me and it is just about taking advantage of them and making the right decisions.”

36. Have self-respect.

“But I was very upset with Mark [from 'Love Is Blind'] too, because it’s like, have some respect for yourself, man!”

37. Interracial relationships come in many varieties.

“I have never dated a white person. I've actually never dated outside of my race, period. But my friends are in interracial relationships and it bothers me that whenever interracial relationships are depicted on screen, they are with just white people. It's another way media in general centers whiteness.”

38. Black people and persons of color are often assumed to be guilty before they are even charged.

“You don't get the benefit of the doubt in these [law enforcement] situations. They're not going to be like, ‘Hey, Brown man and Black lady, y'all didn't do this, right?”

39. Appreciate the moments when you get opportunities not normally given to people of your race.

"I do recognize that not many people who look like me have gotten to do this [get a lead role in a romance film]. So, I don't take that lightly.”

40. Tell your story how you choose.

"All I can do is just tell the story that I want to tell. If it's not for you, then it's just not for you. Move on.”

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41. Obstacles are motivators.

"I thrive on obstacles. If I'm told that it can't be told, then I push harder."

42. Others need to start thinking about minorities to have equal representation.

“Only people of color think about other people of color and really, only Black people think about Black people. No one else has the determination to employ us or to make sure that we're seen and represented.”

43. Find a way to handle pressure that works for you.

“If somebody else is pressuring me I automatically go into you mode. Because I just know nobody's putting more pressure on themselves than I am.”

44. Don’t wait for opportunity, create it.

“I found that every time I asked permission to answer tended to be no so I had to make my own yeses.”

45. There’s a community of people out there just like you.

“I was like “yo is there something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?” And part of what inspired me was this deep desire that before I died I would make a couple of mirrors. That would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous is for it.”

46. Don’t beat yourself up for procrastinating.

“I have accepted my procrastination is part of who I am. As such, I designate days where I allow time for procrastination.”

47. Don’t forget the downside of success.

“The bigger you are and the more people know your name the more people you’re stumbling in front of."

48. Don’t try too hard to be funny.

“I’ll stick to finding the funny in the ordinary because my life is pretty ordinary and so are the lives of my friends — and my friends are hilarious.”

49. All human beings can relate to one another regardless of race.

“I think that just because the show is titled ‘Awkward Black Girl’ and is a predominantly black cast does it mean that you shouldn’t be able to relate to these people. We’re all human beings. We all essentially go through the same things when it comes down to it."

50. Black women are tired of getting less than what they deserve.

"Black women aren’t bitter, they're just tired of being expected to settle for less.”

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Tamara Sanon is a writer who covers astrology, spirituality, love, and relationship topics.