When we last checked in with the powerhouse known as Issa Rae (born Jo-Issa Rae Diop), she was celebrating in the south of France. But if you thought planning her dream wedding would slow the super-producer down, as she tells , it was also a missed opportunity to slow down and enjoy the moment.
“France was something to look forward to, for sure, but I, again, really, really foolishly worked up until it, ended Insecure, then was obviously editing it, and then went to go shoot another show for a couple weeks, then went to go scout in Miami, just did everything up until that event,” she shares with writer Leta Shy for . “Then I did festivities in France, and that was still…it wasn’t vacation. It was still like you’re planning an event. It was fun, it was blissful, and coming back was hard. Coming back knowing that I had to go to work again and I was only out there a week was pretty devastating.”
Nevertheless, Rae is “extremely happy,” with her new marital status and place in life—in which children remain an unknown. “I like my life, I like this selfishness, and I know that I have a window,” she tells Self, echoing the feelings of many millennials who aren’t prioritizing procreation at present (). “I’ve always felt that way, that women, Black women especially—unless you’re Viola Davis or Angela Bassett—you have a window when people are going to want to continue to see you and see what you can do. Then there are so many limitations placed upon you, and that does keep me up,” she continues. “I want to do as much as I can while I still can. I know it’s not the proper mentality to think that kids will slow you down, but I do feel that way.”
That said, Rae isn’t against all slowing down, particularly when it comes to (non-Black) gentrification in her native South L.A., where she’s also based her offices and invested in the area’s revitalization, as well as “vocalizing her desire to help keep the area’s Black community thriving and successful,” writes Shy. To that end, Rae is co-owner of the Inglewood location of high-end coffee shop Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen, and also “an active proponent” of the “1.3-mile-long open-air public space that will celebrate arts and culture in the Black community,” .
“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,” says Rae, later adding: “What I love is that it establishes and certifies our history in these parts of L.A., and that’s extremely important to me because our history, our accomplishments are always erased or forgotten…So to be able to have this part of town as it is changing, actively and aggressively changing, as it’s acknowledged for what it is, which is just us, and we’ve been here and we’ve built this culture, and to acknowledge our role in Los Angeles’s community culture is important to me.”
“We don’t have many [resources] in our communities, and we have a history of those kinds of things being broken up,” Rae continues. “Part of what I want to do is just making sure that we’re able to have those in places, and that means prioritizing our wellness…That means prioritizing our health centers and making sure that people are there not to dismiss our health concerns but to be well-versed in them. It sounds like a utopian, idealist community or society for us, but I do think that it’s possible.”
You can read Rae’s cover story in its entirety on .