Jo-Issa “Issa” Rae Diop is an American actress, writer-director, and a web series creator. She was born on January 12, 1985, in Los Angeles, California. Her father is Dr. Abdoulaye Diop, a pediatric doctor from Senegal and her mother Delyna Diop is a teacher from Louisiana. Issa has four siblings, and her family lived in Senegal during her childhood.
Rae graduated from the King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science where she had already begun her acting career. She graduated from Stanford University with a major in African and African-American Studies.
As a college student, she made music videos, wrote, and directed plays. She also wrote a mock reality series called Dorm Diaries. It was at Stanford that she met Tracy Oliver, the one who helped her produce Awkward Black Girl.
Issa’s web series Awkward Black Girl premiered on Youtube in 2011. The show showcases the life of J that was played by Rae. In the series, she interacts with her co-workers and love interests who never fail to place her in uncomfortable situations.
The series went viral due to blog posts and social media, eventually gaining it mainstream media attention and coverage. In an effort to fund the rest of the series of the first season, Rae and Tracy raised money through Kickstarter. The duo was able to accumulate $56,269 from 1,960 donations, and hence released the rest of the season one on Rae’s Youtube channel.
She then teamed up with rapper Pharrell Williams and premiered season two on his YouTube channel. The show won her a Shorty Award for Best Web Show.
She writes, edits, produces and performs film's most of her works on her own. Her other shows include Ratchet piece Theater, The “F” Word, Roomieloverfriends, and The Choir, which all focus on the African-American experiences that are often not presented by the mainstream media.
In 2013, she started working on the pilot of Insecure along with Larry Wilmore. The pilot was picked up by HBO and was released in 2016. It has received many critical acclamations. The actress actually had a huge weight loss for the show, losing a total of 50 pounds.
The American Film Institute selected it as one of the top 10 television series of the year. She was awarded the Golden Globe Award for the category of Best Actress- Television Series Musical or Comedy, in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Rae has also published her own book titled The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, a memoir released in 2015. The book depicts her life through a series of humorous anecdotes and opens up about her struggle of not fitting in.
Issa has appeared on the cover of Essence magazine’s May 2015 “Game Changers” alongside big names like Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay, Debbie Allen, and Mara Brock Akil. She is currently signed with United Talent Agency and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Rae has always been quite secretive when it comes to her personal life. But there are rumors swirling around about her secretly dating relationship with Kofi Siriboe. As of 2018, Issa Rae' net worth is around $4 million whereas in 2017 her net worth was estimated to be about $3 million. She is followed by 2.1 million on Instagram as of October 2018.