Issa Rae Shares How Nispey Hussle Reconnected Her With Lauren London
It’s been 10 years since Issa Rae launched her infamous web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, and she’s created an empire since then that continues to grow with each new project revealed. But the journey to mogul status wasn’t without its bumps.
Recalling her path to success for Vanity Fair‘s June cover story, Rae recounted a demoralizing experience during the creation of what would become her now-beloved HBO series, Insecure. The foundation of the series is from Awkward Black Girl, a series and character that Rae created in her own image, and it was her likeness that she pitched for the cable version of the show. In both her memoir and the Variety interview, Rae explained that producers and TV executives consistently suggested that other actresses star in the series in her place because she wasn’t the right person for the role she created.
One executive specifically suggested Lauren London would be a better fit for the lead despite the two actresses looking nothing alike. Rae mentioned the ordeal in her memoir, including London’s name and unintentionally hurting the latter’s feelings. “One of my biggest regrets, naming her,” she told Variety. “She took offense to that.”
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Rae revealed that London’s longtime love, the late Nipsey Hussle, brought the two together to make peace. The rapper approached Rae at Diddy’s birthday party two years ago and encouraged her to speak with London and make things right.
“It actually sparked an amazing two-hour conversation. We had so much in common,” Rae shared. “[London] was like, ‘People don’t understand, I’m an awkward Black girl.’ In the same way that I was upset about the limited portrayal of Black women, she was like, ‘People do the same thing to me.’ I completely get that.”
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Rae explained that the conversation inspired her to expand the scope of Insecure‘s characters so that different Black women can relate to them — a mission that will continue to guide her with her future projects as well. Rae, 36, recently inked a new film and television deal with WarnerMedia in March and has multiple projects underway. Aside from the final season of Insecure, her shows include Sweet Life, Rap Sh*t, A Black Lady Sketch Show, Seen & Heard, The Vanishing Half and Nice White Parents.
“I have my own ideas, but we’re really excited about working with other creators, collaborating with other people, being fans of their work and seeing what they have cooking up,” Rae told ET about her deal last month. “I’m over the moon right now with the potential.”
“It feels so good to be able to have the trust of Warner and HBO, the HBO family, and their properties, to give us free rein like that,” she added. “It’s cool.”
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