The Black Student Union has arranged a series of events to celebrate Black History Month. The signature Black History Month speaker series, took place on Feb. 9, with Issa Rae, who is the creator and star of the YouTube series, “Awkward Black Girl,” a Golden Globe nominee, and creator, co-writer and leading actress of the HBO hit series, “Insecure.” Freshman hospitality major and Black Student Union member Aliyah Sall attended the event and shared how the guest speaker left a lasting impression.
by Aliyah Sall
When Issa Rae is asked a question, expect a clear and straight to the point response. Not because she is shy or awkward but because the best way to be real is to state your point quickly and without any hesitation or doubt. Issa does just that. Her style is quick and witty, and while most people laughed at her responses, I sat in awe at her unapologetic, “this is who I am, deal with it” mentality.
As a fellow Senegalese American, I couldn’t help but revel in the fact that someone from my heritage and background was so successful in just being herself. Often times, black woman are asked to tone it down or to stop being everything we are able to be. Issa Rae, in one sweeping motion, captured her audience with YouTube videos; created, directed and starred in a HBO hit comedy; and was nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in her field. If that isn’t Black Girl Magic, I don’t know what is.
She is charismatic, direct and at the same time, playful and relatable. The way she could capture the audience with a “Yes” or a “No” or a “I don’t know. You tell me”, is inconceivable for most other artists. Most feel the need to explain their every move while Issa exudes the attitude of “being black and existing are the only things I HAVE to do and I really don’t need a reason for it. Again… deal with it.”
She is, without a doubt, one the strongest role models of this era in entertainment and wholly represents the “Awkward Black Girl.” But more importantly, she defines the title of “Unapologetically She” and we can ask for no more.
As we all strive to live and be unapologetically black this Black History Month, I urge you to internalize Issa’s message of self-love and confidence in everything you do. Black History is the past and is constantly being made in the present. We need to take time to reflect on those who came before us and those among us today that continue to inspire communities of people through their art. They need all of our support and love in order to continue in a world that is just realizing their talent, even when we knew all long.