Issa Rae Might Really Do All-Black Gossip Girl


She produces. She writes. She acts. And now she’s at New York Fashion Week.

Today’s setting: Grand Central Station, where Kate Spade New York took over the famous oyster bar, imported a marching band from New Orleans, and sent through a series of gingham cocktail dresses and floral box-purses that emphatically declared “let the good times roll.” (So did a giant neon sign on the wall, so… you know… consistency.)

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Today’s topics: Insecure, an all-black Gossip Girl, how to tease Tiffany Haddish, and seven-course dinners alone. (Otherwise known, dear readers, as heaven.)

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Kate Spade New York is bringing back their traditional box purse. Did you have one as a kid?

Oh yeah. I used to hate purses growing up. It was not my style. My mom would buy them for me, but Kate Spade were the only purses I would accept from her! “Okay mom, I’ll do that.”

They’re also big on travel—they did a whole film series on women traveling and eating alone. Are you good at that?

I just went on my first trip alone, actually. It was to Costa Rica, and I made a rule that there wouldn’t be any social media. I could take pictures, but that’s because I like keepsakes, not because I want to post anything. And that made room to just let thoughts come to me, and it made me pay attention to the thoughts in my head, because there were no distractions. I journaled a lot. I wrote stuff down. But you also—and this is real advice—you have to go lay out! You have to let yourself relax! Even if it’s a “work-cation”—I mean, this was for a writer’s retreat—you’ve got to make that time.

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What about going to a restaurant by yourself?

Oh, I love to eat alone. I was in Santa Barbara recently for a work trip, and there was a restaurant out there that was highly recommended. I went in by myself, and they had a seven-course tasting menu. I said, “Waiter, please don’t judge me for what I’m about to do.” And I ordered that seven-course tasting menu all by myself. It was like the best thing I’ve ever done. I can’t wait to go to another restaurant and do it again. Every woman should do it. It’s the best.

You made a video about an all-black 90210 or Gossip Girl. It was supposed to be a joke… but it’s so not a joke…

I swear, it started out as a joke. It really did. But I can understand why there’s been interest in it, and it’s been cool to hear how many people want to see a show like that get made. So I’ve been thinking of some ideas—real ideas—and we’ll see.

You also played Rachel in Jay-Z’s all-black Friends video. Did you have to audition in a cropped turtleneck?

Ha! You know, I said “yes” before I even knew the concept. It’s Jay-Z. You say “yes.” So first they tell me it’s Friends and then they tell me I’m playing Rachel?! The fly one? I thought I was going to be Phoebe—no disrespect to Phoebe, she’s gorgeous. But you know, Rachel is Rachel. And Tiffany Haddish was a perfect Phoebe. Tessa Thompson could have been Rachel too, but she was a perfect Monica.

For those of us who have fantasized about filming in the Friends fountain, what should we know?

Oh, it’s freezing in that fountain! You will get so cold. And then Tiffany refused to get her hair wet. We all had to gang up on her. I was like, “Tiffany, we are all in this fountain! We are all getting wet!” So we had to peer pressure her, hard. That was the highlight, telling Tiffany that if my hair was getting what and Tessa Thompson’s hair is getting wet, guess what Tiffany? Your hair is getting wet.

You recently told Rolling Stone that Insecure isn’t for men and it isn’t for white people. Do you mean men and white people shouldn’t watch it?

No! If guys are watching it, if white people are watching it, I don’t mind it. It’s great. But if they’re like, “I don’t see myself reflected in the way that I want to” I’m like, “yeah, because I wasn’t thinking about you!” When I write scenes and when I have my sense of humor and my sense of characters, I’m thinking about my family and friends. At the end of the day, if they laugh, that’s what makes it for me and lends to the authenticity of the show. It’s a deeply personal show. But everyone is welcome to watch the show, and I love hearing about people’s experiences with it. So please keep watching it, and keep talking about it!



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