Sunday, June 3, 12:30 pm

Filmmaker and actress Issa Rae is a textbook example of a creative person using digital outlets to build a career (and limitless options) for herself. Long before her hit HBO series Insecure, Rae was making a name for herself on YouTube. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and other online series gave Rae an outlet for the stories she wanted to tell, including being black at Stanford University, being a woman of color, and being a creative person in today’s entertainment landscape.

The audience was giddy with laughter and support for Rae, who is outspoken, modest, and funny as all get-out.

She was interviewed by her friend, the comedian and writer Khadi Don, and the two shared a natural rapport, talking about how to create opportunities for a diverse group of audiences and entertainment creators.

“I get inspired by real life,” Rae said. “Little moments, social interactions…Discomfort makes me laugh, and I’m empathetic to other people’s embarrassment.” All of this of course makes for great comedy.

Here are some highlights of the session:

  • The opening scene of the newest episode of Insecure—relatable, sly, and hilarious.
  • Rae talking about how timing is critical in starting a career and grabbing opportunities. “After I had success on YouTube, I went to work for Shonda Rhimes at ABC, but I wasn’t ready for it…Later, HBO approached me [about creating the series that would become Insecure], but it still took three years to get it done.”
  • Rae talking about helping to create opportunities for voices that don’t have outlets, through her new company Color Creative TV, which produces video content by women and people of color.
  • Rae saying she was encouraged by seeing increasing diversification in the entertainment industry.
  • Discussing her goals, she said, “There’s so much I want to do. I don’t want to be limited. I want to help others in their careers. I want to find out what else I’m supposed to do.”

It’s safe to say that those who were in the audience are eagerly awaiting that information too.

You can watch the entire session below.
Issa Rae


Actress, Writer, Director, Producer

With her own unique flare and infectious sense of humor, Issa Rae's content has garnered over 23 million views and over 200,000 YouTube subscribers (and counting). In addition to making Glamour Magazine's "35 Under 35", Forbes' "30 Under 30" and Entertainment Weekly's "Breaking Big" lists, Issa's hit series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl was the recipient of the coveted Shorty Award for Best Web Show. Issa's first book, a collection of essays, is a New York Times Best Seller and her latest project, Insecure, a half-hour comedy show for HBO, premiered in the fall to rave reviews and earned her a Golden Globe nomination. Issa has received national attention with major media outlets including The New York Times, CNN, ELLE, Seventeen, Rolling Stone, BuzzFeed, Fast Company, MSNBC, Essence, Fader, Variety and more.

Khadi Don


Writer, Actress, Filmmaker, Comedian

Khadi Don is an LA-based writer, actress, filmmaker, and comedian capable of making just about anyone laugh. With a knack for pulling the humor out of pop culture and transforming into multiple characters, Khadi Don has been setting the internet on fire since 2013 with her comedic short-form videos. Her massive following of over 3.5M has lead to a rabid fan base that follows her every move. Most recently, Khadi has been featured on Complex's series Dumb as Hell, TBS's Drop the Mic, and Super Deluxe's viral video Khadi and Joanne. Khadi has also worked with brands like Nike, Sprite, Burger King, Two Hats, and AT&T.

View past events: 2017