Issa Rae’s photoshoot for her Self Magazine cover story all but broke the internet on Tuesday. And while the pictures were stunning ( as we’ve come to expect), Rae addressed several critical topics during her sitdown.
One of those topics was gentrification which is threatening the culture of South Central Los Angeles.
But the “Insecure” creator is actively doing her part to help the Black and Brown community hold onto what’s theirs.
In 2019, Rae that she had partnered up with Hilltop Coffee to open its second location for Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen in Downtown Inglewood.
“I’ve always wanted a coffee shop in my neighborhood. Coffee shops facilitate productivity in so many ways, they facilitate collaboration. I’ve personally have done all my writing in coffee shops,” Rae said at the time. “So it always disappointed me that there weren’t any that were Black-owned (or) people of color-owned in my neighborhood. Now to have the Inglewood location I was just immensely proud because it’s home. I just feel like it’s so important to have these spaces where you feel safe where you can be creative, and have a sense of comfort. To know that it’s your space.”
Rae is one of the forces behind Destination Crenshaw, “a 1.3-mile-long open-air public space that will celebrate arts and culture in the Black community.”
SELF reports that the community project will run along Crenshaw Boulevard and will include a walkway celebrating historic firsts in Black culture, public parks, and more than 100 commissioned artworks.
“What I love is that it establishes and certifies our history in these parts of L.A., and that’s extremely important to me because our history, our accomplishments, are always erased or forgotten,” Rae told the outlet. “So to be able to have this part of town as it is changing, actively and aggressively changing, as it’s acknowledged for what it is, which is just us, and we’ve been here and we’ve built this culture, and to acknowledge our role in Los Angeles’s community culture is important to me.”
She also reacted to the recent news that the Crenshaw Mall had been sold to developers, despite the Black community rallying together to place the highest bid.
“We’re so used to things being taken from us,” Rae says. “We’re so used to having to be on guard and fighting and being, in many cases, rightfully untrusting of whatever circumstances, and it’s all justified. Nothing has ever given us reason to think differently.”