How Issa Rae is Opening Doors in Entertainment for Diverse Aspiring Creatives!

If you’re obsessed with all things Issa Rae like we are, we’ve garnered all the ways she’s pushing the needle of inclusivity in Hollywood and breaking barriers for diverse aspiring creatives!

The entertainment industry can be a cutthroat and unwelcoming environment, especially for people wielding underrepresented identities, but Issa Rae, widely known and loved for her multi-award-winning show Insecure, is doing everything in her power to create a pipeline for diverse creatives to capitalize on opportunity and thrive.

Most recently, Rae’s talent management company, ColorCreative, which she co-founded with Deniese Davis, launched the Find Your People Program. The training curriculum will guide and develop participants, offering them an amazing opportunity at the end to pitch their own short film to a committee that could fund their project. Through direct mentorship, professional development, and networking, emerging creatives will hone their skills in the following seven disciplines of the filmmaking process: writers, directors, producers, editors, production designers, cinematographers, and costume designers. 


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Rae and Davis founded ColorCreative in 2014 as an initiative to elevate developing women and diverse creators for all forms of media and enhance their careers by producing and selling their work to various media platforms. Today, ColorCreative utilizes a variety of methods to identify new voices and provide accessible industry insight to aspirational creatives seeking to get their foot in the door. Whether it’s a nationwide contest for upcoming writers, masterclasses on writing, directing, and producing, or free webinars, Rae is consistently providing space and resources to help catalyze the future careers of emerging creators.

The all-around media mogul has always been committed to establishing and maintaining more diversity and inclusion with aim to instill a new precedent in the industry. As a first time scripted TV show director and producer on Insecure, she set new standards to help diverse off-screen talent gain credibility and experience. On all sets, she mandates that 60% of her set crew represent diverse identities. Typically a big hindrance to new coming diverse talent is the lack of credible experience; to eliminate the hurdle, Rae hired staff solely based on talent, hunger, and fit instead of the industry standard–experience.


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In many ways, Insecure can be considered a graduate school for all the creatives who were impacted by Rae’s leadership. Alumni of the show, who were previously considered ‘inexperienced’ yet recruited by Rae throughout the 5 seasons long production of Insecure, are capitalizing on the nourishment and mentorship they received working alongside Rae. Actors who were only considered on-screen talent prior to Insecure now have directing and producing credits under their belts. Deniese Davis, who began as an assistant on the show, went on to become an executive producer on Insecure and Rap Sh!t, and now is the face of ColorCreative alongside Rae. Melina Matsoukas was a first-time director in narrative TV, and soon after the show made her directorial debut with her highly acclaimed film Queen & Slim. We won’t exhaust you, but the list could go on. The power and intention behind Rae’s dedication to fully unhinging the doors that were shut tight for diverse creatives speaks for itself.


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To further her impactful reach, Rae developed HOORAE Media, a broadcasting and media production company entirely focused on championing Black and diverse stories and creatives. HOORAE serves as a conglomerate of companies that reach all facets of entertainment; Film, TV, and Digital productions, ColorCreative talent management, and the newest addition Raedio, an artist friendly music label that gives the artist autonomy and collaborative power over their art.

In true champion spirit, HOORAE Media uses its digital platform to level the playing field and support and educate creators. As an exposure opportunity for short film creators, HOORAE Media held a #ShortFilmSundays series on their YouTube, where they posted a new creator and their film on the last Sunday of each month. Even this past year, Rae partnered with Walmart to launch the Black & Unlimited Digital Development Program, which provided tools and mentorship to nine Black content creators, guiding them into successful careers in the industry. On top of supporting those creators, HOORAE Media created a series of Black and Unlimited Creator Courses to provide resourceful tips for all digital creators out there.

Issa Rae is leveraging her power and influence to engender much needed change in the industry around representation, diversity, and inclusion, and we’re excited to see how she will continue to be a changemaker and cultivate new norms!

About the Author

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Nailah Tukpah

Nailah Tukpah is a multimedia content writer/creator and senior student at Brown University. She currently interns for AfterBuzz TV and Heal Squad with Maria Menounos, and she aspires to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Nailah is from Maryland, a lover of fashion and film, and she can’t imagine a world without music.