July 2023 Digital Cover Experience: Issa Rae
“The ‘strong Black woman’ trope hasn’t helped any of us.”
EBONY fam, this month, we’re celebrating joy. The act of creating it, the act of amplifying it, and most importantly the act of sharing it. Simple moments and rituals that create small sparkles in daily living are sometimes all we need to manifest joy, even in the dark times. For some it comes in weekend road trips, the smiles of children, or boozy brunches. Our July editorial theme, ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ explores Black joy via the art of dining, entertaining, family, and fellowship. We’re launching two special covers that celebrate the joy of summer. First, Issa Rae graces her second EBONY cover on the heels of her ‘Barbie’ film debut. Later this month, the cast of SHOWTIME’s ‘The Chi’ reveal their EBONY cover ahead of their Season 6 launch. Also, celebrate barbecue season, spiritual journeys, summer playlists and more.
Issa Rae is busy. She just wrapped production on season 2 of Rap Sh!t, announced the launch of Fête, the new brand marketing platform for her production company, Hoorae Media, at Cannes Lions Festival; and served as a mentor on an upcoming season of Project Greenlight. Once the writers’ strike ends, she’ll start working on a new comedic relationship thriller. So it’s no wonder she decided to take a break—of sorts.
“Insecure was such an all-encompassing task for me. And it was amazing to be able to wear so many hats and to bring my vision to life in that particular series, but I was tired,” the actress tells EBONY. “I wanted to branch out and do more ensemble pieces, just to be able to check on my own skills and learn from other people.”
“My mom was intentional about making sure I had a Black Barbie. I was [always] trying to make scenes with my Barbies. In some ways, that was my first foray into storytelling.”
EBONY is celebrating #BlackJoy all summer, and we teamed up with one of our favorite funny girls for a July cover shoot that embodies the feel good vibes of the season. We caught up with Issa Rae during a quick break in the multihyphenate’s schedule while gearing up for her summer blockbusters Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse and Barbie. Issa brought the heat, while dressed in a series of easy summer ensembles. From Hudson Jeans to Fendi, stylist Shameelah Hicks dressed our girl in chic denim looks, sexy loungewear, and breezy separates that channelled weekend vibes and off-duty glam.
The new trailer for director Greta Gerwig’s Barbie film delivers plenty of nostalgia. The film follows the Mattel doll—played by Margot Robbie—after being exiled from Barbieland and her journey to finding new adventure and ways of living in the human world. Issa Rae, Alexandra Shipp, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Ncuti Gatwa play different renditions of Barbie and Ken in this diverse Barbie-verse.
There’s nothing more iconic than three dope Black women coming together to make major moves in perfect alignment. Congratulations are in order for media personalities Scottie Beam and Sylvia Obell as their new podcast The Scottie & Sylvia Show will soon launch. The streaming talk series will drop episodes on Issa Rae’s Raedio platform, under her Hoorae media company, starting July 6, 2023. The show will spotlight their magnetic energy and relatable commentary in a format that is all their own.
“Many Black women on TV were these flawless creatures who couldn’t be pierced.”
This month, we’re all eagerly awaiting the upcoming Barbie movie hitting screens on July 21st. EBONY’s latest cover star, Issa Rae, and her cast mates have done an excellent job of bringing back that nostalgic appeal—in a fun, modern way—that now has the entire globe seeking out all-things pink. But, lucky for Barbie fans— who also happen to be travel enthusiasts—you can live out your fantasies by checking out some of the world’s top pink-hued hotels and resorts. These global dream house-like properties will provide all the vibes you’re seeking in a getaway—and then some.
When we see her on red carpets, L.A. native Issa Rae exudes the poise of a literal Black Barbie, with the perfect hint of that Cali flare pushing through—it’s what we love most about her. So, it was only right that Rae was tapped to play the actual President Barbie in Greta Gerwig’s reimagining of the Mattel universe. Rae will be the first-ever Black Barbie in a live-action movie, and we can’t think of a better fit for the role. Let’s be honest, she has been eating up red carpets for years now. Her gowns are always perfectly tailored and her stylists have mastered the art of selecting colors that make her flawless, rich brown skin pop. And, we certainly can’t forget her hair. Whether in its natural state or with some manipulation—the “Rap Sh!t” creator’s crown is always on point. Check out 39 times Issa Rae gave us Black Barbie vibes on red carpets and beyond.
“When there are moments where I feel like I need to be vulnerable, then I am.”
Seeing Issa Rae shine is no surprise. To be honest, she’s always been a legend of major—presidential, even—proportions. From paving the way for Black chicks who erred on the side of awkwardness to creating her own ecosystem for sustainable media endeavors, Issa is really like that. If you’ve ever questioned how much of a trendsetter and icon she is, check out six of her dopest boss moves over the years.
EBONY Evolution’ explores the past, present and future of our favorite stars. In an in-depth interview, we get an intimate look into the life, love, and career of Black trailblazers through their own voice and perspective. This month, July cover star Issa Rae discusses shares how she balances current projects with self-care and reflection. She also discusses the importance of her role in the upcoming Barbie movie and her growth as an actress in this latest episode of EBONY Evolution.
Coupled with patience and time, Scottie Beam and Sylvia Obell landed into divine alignment after departing from a unique opportunity they hoped would last forever. This month, the two launched “The Scottie & Sylvia Show” hosted on Issa Rae’s Raedio YouTube channel. Letting us in on their sacred bestie convos and dropping wisdom along the way, fans are able to engage in the commentary and perspectives we’ve come to love from them both.
“I really lean on my personal relationships to express my full vulnerability.”
To channel your inner Barbie and to add some new pink moments to your wardrobe, the EBONY fashion team has rounded up 13 items for you to add to cart ASAP. From a Fendi baguette to a LaQuan Smith bodysuit and strappy high heels from Michael Kors, we’ve selected the perfect pink-hued items to work into your daily wardrobe. Check out our favorite Barbiecore clothing items online right now and let us know what you plan on buying.
The Barbie movie is a bonafide mega-hit, raking in $360 million worldwide over its opening weekend—the biggest movie premiere of the year so far. Everything’s been coming up dreamhouses and Malibu corvettes for Barbie since 1958. But it would take nearly a decade from the iconic plastic doll’s debut for the world to experience the first Black Barbie design. While Christie is often considered the figure to come out of Mattel with a darker skin tone, the company released Barbie’s friend Francie in 1967, before Christie would arrive on the scene and change the face of the doll brand forever. Here, EBONY chronicles some of the most iconic Black Barbies and collections over the past five decades.
“With hindsight, you get to see so much of the journey.”
The latest company to get bitten by the Barbie bug, Good American is revisiting its best-selling Pop Off Pink collection. The flawless Jasmine Sanders, aka Golden Barbie, stars in the campaign, while also representing the ultimate Barbiecore style. Everyone can feel sexy and confident while living their doll-like fantasy with the always-inclusive size range (00-32+, XS-5XL). Whether you’re a Roller Barbie, Professional Barbie, or Vacay Barbie, you can be who you want to be in Good American’s Pop Off Pink collection.
Our July editorial theme, The Pursuit of Happiness is an exploration of Black joy via the art of dining, entertaining, family, and fellowship. This month, we’re launching two special covers that celebrate the joy of summer with some of today’s leading stars. First up, Barbie star Issa Rae shares how the film champions representation and shares her plans for a #SoftGirlSummer. Later this month, stars of SHOWTIME’s The Chi discuss the power of community, and Black joy in the midst of struggle. With barbecue season in full swing, we’ve tapped top chefs and grill-masters for their best recipes. Plus, our home entertaining guide, spiritual journeys, the best summer comedies, and fun DIY projects.