Issa Rae was recently announced as the 2022 American Black Film Festival Ambassador, which will take place June 15-19 in Miami Beach. The news was first revealed per an exclusive report by Variety. In addition to the honor, the 37-year-old Renaissance woman will also unveil her long-awaited HBO Max series Rap Sh*t at the festival’s last full evening, June 18.
“I’m honored to be this year’s Festival Ambassador,” Rae said in a statement. “ABFF was the first major festival to showcase my work, and they continue to elevate Black creatives from the ground level. It’s also fun as hell.” The Insecure creator received the ABFF’s Rising Star Award in 2017 for the expansive work she’s done in television and film since the debut of her YouTube series The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl more than one decade ago.
Founded in 1997 by the husband-and-wife tandem of Jeff and Nicole Friday, the ABFF bills itself as “the world’s largest community of Black film and TV enthusiasts.” The festival is dedicated to celebrating Black talent and work by, and about, descendants of the African diaspora. As ABFF ambassador, Rae will participate in the festival opening ceremonies on Wednesday, June 15, with the Fridays. The list of past festival ambassadors includes the likes of Idris Elba, her Insecure castmate Jay Ellis, Taraji P. Henson, and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
“It has been amazing to watch Issa shatter ceilings with her incredible sensibility to storytelling and her astounding achievements in the industry,” noted Nicole Friday, festival producer and president of ABFF Ventures LLC. “We have been admirers of her work from the early days and salute her for remaining authentic and never forgetting the importance of elevating the next generation of emerging artists.”
And on Saturday, June 18, Rae will showcase her new half-hour comedy series, Rap Sh*t, which she executive produced alongside City Girls rappers Yung Miami and JT. HBO Max is said to have already ordered eight episodes of the show, and its synopsis says that it will “[explore] the music business in Miami through the eyes of three women – an upstart Hip Hop duo and their hustler manager.”
However, it will be interesting to see how Rap Sh*t portrays the music scene, given that Issa Rae is not a fan of it at all. “It’s probably the worst industry that I have ever come across,” she told the Los Angeles Times last December. “I thought Hollywood was crazy. The music industry, it needs to start over. Conflicts of interest abound. Archaic mentalities. Crooks and criminals! It’s an abusive industry, and I really feel for artists that have to come up in it.”