Multi-hyphenated Senegalese-American Issa Rae is the cover girl for Paper Magazine‘s latest issue.
For the cover, Issa is bringing the much-needed black girl magic with her youthful, bold and energetic spirit, which is perfect for Paper Magazine. For this feature, Issa is interviewed by friend and acclaimed actress Tracee Ellis Ross.
On the first episode of Awkward Black Girl
I was extremely terrified. I had been creating content online that was mine technically, but it featured other people. I had never featured myself. I’d seen the comments on people I’d featured and they were mostly positive, but when I saw the negative ones I was like, “Oof, glad that ain’t me.” And so I put myself out there and it just felt different.
It was a story that felt so specific to me, it was specifically my sense of humour and there was no one else to hide behind. This is my project and I would be blamed if it turned out shitty. I was scared as hell, and if my best friend wasn’t there to watch the first cut and tell me, “Oh my God this is hilarious, take out this, this drags too long,” then I would have been poorer for that. So I thank her.
On what Black History Month means to her
I saw this billboard downtown today that was like, “Black culture is culture, so keep on making culture.” I was like what the f*** is that? This billboard in the middle of downtown talking about Black culture? Then I realized, Black History Month! Okay, that’s why we’re getting props.
And that side of it is frustrating to me. I’m of the mindset that Black history is American history. So I’m a little bit over it. When I think about Black History Month I think about the forced, “Okay, now it’s your time, let’s hear about your history, good for you, Black people.” If you’re going to celebrate Black history, celebrate Black people all year long. And understand that it’s also your history. But I don’t feel particularly moved by Black History Month.
Read the full issue on www.papermag.com