Why Issa Rae Is Committed to "Holding the Door Open" and Providing Opportunities

Updated 03/12/18
Issa Rae on Success and Providing Opportunities
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"Success is a moving goal post," declared Issa Rae at a private panel hosted by LinkedIn in Los Angeles. "You celebrate in those moments and then look at what's next and how can I do it better than I did before." The Insecure star joined Chelsea Handler at The Art of Elysium for a candid discussion on defining success, careers, and discovering what you're in it for. Rae's relationship success is the opposite of complacency. "I like to outdo the last thing I did."

When asked what success was going to look like and what her goals were going to be moving forward, Rae responded, "holding the door open." She describes that being black in the industry, she was told that she didn't have an audience, that there isn't work, or that they couldn't find jobs for her. "For me, it's about providing those opportunities, and now that the door is open for me, making sure that the door stays open so that other people can walk through and tell their stories."

Rae co-founded Color Creative, an organization dedicated to increasing opportunities for women and minority TV writers. "We're empowering emerging young writers of color to be able to have the experience needed to go into writers rooms [and] get representation so that no one can use that excuse, 'oh, we couldn't find anybody qualified.'" As Rae explains, this proactive measure is a way of "ensuring that this whole 'diversity' and 'inclusive'—all these discussions—isn't just a trend." Because of Rae and others like her committed to holding the door open, the industry is finally beginning to move in the right direction.

"There are so many creatives of color being given opportunities to tell their stories—and they're successful—so you won't have that excuse that they don't sell or that no one's watching," observes Rae. "That's part of it," she concluded, adding that the other part of future success is that she'll continue to work and become better herself—eyes on the moving goal post.

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