Super U Podcast | 7 Super Tips with Issa Rae
Today, Erik sits down with Jo-Issa Rae Diop, known professionally as Issa Rae. Rae is an American actress, writer, and producer. She first garnered attention for her work on the YouTube web series Awkward Black Girl. Rae has achieved wider recognition as the co-creator, co-writer, and star of the HBO television series Insecure, for which she’s been nominated for multiple Golden Globe Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards. Her 2015 memoir, titled The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, became a New York Timesbest-seller. In 2018 and 2022, Rae was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. Rae has also starred in feature films, with roles in the drama The Hate U Give (2018), the fantasy comedy Little (2019), the romance The Photograph (2020), and the romantic comedy The Lovebirds (2020). She will also voice Jessica Drew / Spider-Woman in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023). Rae provided the voice work for the short film Hair Love, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2020.
5x #1 Bestselling Author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman has performed in over 55 countries and reached over 50 million people this past decade. He was voted the 2nd Most Likable Author in the World behind Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling. Qualman is also the inventor of the bestselling board game Kittycorn.
Need a sneak peek? Below are the main takeaways from the episode.
Super U Podcast | 7 Super Tips with Issa Rae
[3:23] Tip #1
“I had never developed within a system like my first opportunity to develop was with ABC and that was trying to create you know, a pilot. And that was something that, you know, I developed with them. And I didn’t have any expectations. And I felt like my voice kind of just became law. And much because that was more about oh, what do you guys look for that was there and I don’t know if that’s something that is common in terms of people asking you and new writers coming in and asking you that work? Like what is it that you’re looking for? And I think that’s the approach that I had, I was so focused on what I felt like fit their network and what they wanted to see that I didn’t think about the story that I wanted to tell and didn’t focus on that and I always say that I was eager to please in a way that made my voice kind of irrelevant. And the reason they brought me in in the first place was just have something to say and so I think for me I was my expectations were I have I’m supposed to make these executives happy. And that ended up not being the right way of thinking.”
[4:52] Tip #2
“Do I love collaborating because I just know there are a lot of people with great ideas or are just way smarter than me and I love hearing everything out But I think because a lot of these characters were so close to me for this show and based off of real people, for me, I was initially like, that I had to find myself, I found myself being a bit apprehensive, just like, No, I know these, I know these people. And so resisting the urge to just outright say no, that won’t work is the best thing that’s, you know, also ever happened to me in the writer’s room of just keeping an open ear hearing ideas that no matter how, like, bad they may sound to you initially, like, they lead to great ideas down the line. And I found that through and through a grant like, oh, my gosh, if I had said, No, that’s not gonna work, it would have led to this, which really does work. And it’s so much fun.”
[6:13] Tip #3
“I think I’ve just had to be resilient in that way like everything is not gonna hit and you have to be okay with that. And I think once I got comfortable with like, having missteps and fucking up, then that’s when I was just like, Okay, I think I’m ready. I built the skin for this industry. I built the skin to be able to continue to take risks and keep trying because that’s really what I want to do. I feel like it’s an ongoing journey. I don’t like the word like a failure, because that implies that it’s done. And or that I’m taking a test. And I’m not, I’m not, you know, I think it’s just an ongoing, ongoing journey of mistakes and learning from that. And it’s exciting. It should be fun.”
[7:22] Tip #4
“Because I did get approached a lot of just like, This is what we see for you. And this is the vision that we have planned for you and I and it sounds great. And it sounds like Okay, everybody else is doing it this way everybody else is having success this way. So maybe I should follow the same path. And there are a couple of moments where I’ve had to be like, This is not what I see for myself. And this is actually not the vision I had in mind.”
[8:21] Tip #5
“You know, when you get your first piece of criticism, or people start to hate your stuff on mass, like for me, it’s actually only helped me creatively because it makes me uncomfortable. And that’s kind of where I thrive. And that’s kind of where I live in the first place. And so, you know, I just use it like I don’t have a choice but to live in this in this world and its state currently. And so it’s just like you have to use it and make do.”
[9:12] Tip #6
“I always advise them to work with other young women like work with the women who are just as hungry as you are and passionate and form a team and form a bond and commit yourselves to one another because there’s that’s basically what I’ve done. You know, I have such a strong group of people who have I, we’ve been able to grow together and I wouldn’t trade that in for anything. It’s so much better than you know, trying to reach out and constantly say, hey, to put me on it’s just like it’s about building your own thing and growing from there.”
[9:55] Tip #7
“As far as the best advice given, I can tell you the advice that I would give to people is just to stop making excuses. You’re the only one stopping you because I had to hear that myself like because I like I’m an excuse queen, I’m procrastination queen. I’m, I’m all of those. And like, I would always talk about how I wanted to make this happen. I wanted to put on a show, I don’t want to make this idea happen. And I want to be a writer and, and a producer. But once you’re coming up with ways that you can’t do something, you’re not going to do it. So I think that stop finding the ways that you can do something and find the ways all the ways that you can just go for it.”
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The Super U Podcast is hosted by #1 bestselling author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman.