Black Joy with Issa Rae

She was introduced as the quintessential embodiment of black girl magic.

Issa Rae graced the UW campus Sunday night as the kickoff event of Black History Month. In an hour long Q&A, the Golden-Globe nominated creative left few questions unanswered ranging from advice to young film makers and entrepreneurs as well as her favorite feel good songs and shows.

Announced just three weeks ago, some attendees were expecting a youtube workshop based on previous advertising, but rolled with the clearance of getting their yearning questions for Rae out in the open.

Ja’Mel Ware of Intellectual Ratchet co-facilitates the Q&A with Issa Rae

Hundreds filed into Varsity Hall at Union South to take in the aura of the Awkward Black Girl herself, and like the fangirl I am, tears were the immediate result. I think I was crying more so because I couldn’t just go hug her right away. I found myself anxious, planning exactly what I’d say to her when I got my chance at the meet and greet. Many of the questions asked were answered in Rae’s book, so I got even more time to narrow down what I’d say, in between me being in awe that her personality is literally what I’ve been watching through a screen for the past year in her Youtube series, HBO Show and essays from her book.

Fangirl moment

I came up with this:

“I was going to call you Sloppy Jo…”

I know it sounds dumb. But I wanted to think of some small detail to show I read her book and actually laughed hysterically at the subtlest moments. That simple line was a nickname she wanted to be called as a child by her teacher, and was completely dismissed. She immediately laughed. Insert the bitmoji of me ripping my heart out of my chest.


She brought vibrance to our campus and laughter to our hearts, one of the few things that’s going to help us survive this administration when each day there is something new that tries to steal our joy (admittedly many times successfully).

Next time you’re feeling like you can’t find light in the darkness, remember what Issa told us:

“Black joy is Black happiness; it’s Black laughter and it’s what keeps me going every day.”


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