All 13 Major Roles from Issa Rae TV Shows and Movies 

Issa Rae

If you aren’t a fan of the oh-so-multi-talented Black actress and producer Issa Rae (who really has too many titles to name at this point), you just haven’t seen her in a role that speaks to you yet. 

As the beloved representative for awkward Black girls everywhere, co-creator of the hit HBO TV show Insecure, and the biggest cheerleader for “everybody Black,” Issa Rae has undoubtedly brought a new breath of fresh air to Hollywood with her unique voice and perspective. And today, we’re going to shine a spotlight on it all. 

So whether you want to check and see if you’re a real Issa Rae stan or you’re just curious to learn more about her career over the years, dive into the list below and school yourself on all of the Issa Rae TV shows and movies:

0. The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl (2011) 

Technically, this isn’t a TV show or movie, but it’s important. And honestly, if you aren’t familiar with this, then you simply have been living under a rock. This has quickly become one of the, if not the most, talked about YouTube-to-Hollywood origin story shows of all time. In her self-produced, self-directed, self-acted web series, Issa played “J”, an “awkward and black” passive-aggressive person who works at a call center for weight-loss pills. The description of the main character alone need not be followed by the obligatory “and hilarity ensues”, because when you start with “awkward and black” and pair it with “call center for weight loss” pills, the humor writes itself. 

1. A Bitter Lime (2015) 

While you might be familiar with Issa’s popular web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, since it’s not technically a TV show, we’re kicking off the list with Issa’s first film credit in the drama A Bitter Lime. The movie, which is about a wealthy couple who escapes to the Caribbean for more excitement, features Issa, who appears as Jane Johnson. 

2. Insecure (2016-2021) 

Starring in her own show as Issa Dee, Insecure is the award-winning TV series that took the culture by storm. It ran for five seasons and is one of the few, if only shows, only television networks that tells the story of the diverse Black female experience from a place that feels warm-heartedly authentic and real. Following Issa and her best friend, Molly, the show tells the story of two Black women figuring out life, love, work, and friendship in L.A. 

3. The Hate U Give (2018) 

Issa’s first prominent role in a big-screen film was in the film adaptation of the young adult best-selling novel The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. In the heartfelt movie that sheds light on the pain and harsh realities of police brutality, Issa sheds her typical comical demeanor for a more professional air as she plays April Orfrah, a community activist and the main character’s attorney. 

4. BoJack Horseman (2018)

If you’re a fan of BoJack Horseman, you might’ve heard a familiar voice before in past seasons. That’s because, in the animated comedy television series about a self-loathing, washed-up actor who’s ready for his comeback, Issa Rae played a brief voice acting role as Dr. Indira Dadyshue, a therapist. Her character first appeared in Season 5, and she’s featured in two episodes. 

5. Little (2018) 

If you’re a fan of movies like Freaky Friday or even Life Size, then chances are you’ll probably be into body-swapping comedy Little. Starring Regina Hall, Marsai Martin, and Issa Rae, the movie follows the events that happen after career woman Jordan (Hall) wakes up in the body of her adolescent self (Martin), and Issa plays her long-suffering assistant April who must help her get back to her old self. 

6. Hair Love (2019) 

This film might make you shed a tear or two, so watch at your own risk. But Hair Love is a beautiful, award-winning animated short film about a father doing his daughter’s hair for the first time, and Issa’s voice is featured as the mom in a hair tutorial video made for the daughter. 

7. The Photograph (2020) 

The Photograph gives us yet another chance to see Issa step into a more serious role as she plays Mae Morton, an estranged daughter who decides to dive deeper into her mother’s past after her untimely death. This romance drama also stars Lakeith Stanfield, who plays the rising journalist and Issa’s love interest. 

8. The Lovebirds (2020) 

This rom-com turned murder mystery feels like Issa at her finest. Starring her and co-star Kumail Nanjani, Issa plays Leilani, one-half of the dysfunctional couple that ends up running from a crime scene and getting into some shenanigans of a lifetime. For lots of laughs and good feels, The Lovebirds takes the cake.

9. The Black Lady Sketch Show (2019-2021) 

This half-hour comedy sketch show starring and featuring Black women as actors, producers, and writers brought many greats to the table, including Issa Rae. Created by Robin Thede, the show consists of skits performed by a main cast and some guest stars like Amber Riley and Skai Jackson. And as sketch comedy shows go, Issa played multiple characters, from a corporate baddie lawyer to gang members, so check out the show to see her in all her elements. 

10. Roar (2022)

Anyone up for an anthology series with a dark comedic feminist take? Because that’s what you’ll get with Apple TV’s Roar, a genre-bending series based on a book of short stories by Cecelia Ahern. In episode one, Issa Rae plays Wanda Shepard, a Black writer who realizes she’s slowly becoming invisible in the world. 

11. Vengeance (2022) 

When a writer from New York City decides to get into his murder-mystery bag and kick off his new podcast by solving the murder of a girl he hooked up with, he ends up getting himself into more than he bargained for while out west. In this movie (that you can find all streaming services right now, by the way), Issa plays Eloise, his loyal friend and big-time podcast producer who can help him finish what he started—or not. 

12. Send Help (2022) 

You might remember Issa Dee’s hilarious brother Ahmal from Insecure. Well, turns out actor Jean Elie is now starring in his own show that follows a first-gen Haitian American who’s struggling to find his way in Hollywood and in his personal life. In the new show, Issa makes a brief appearance as a casting director in one episode. 

13. Sherman’s Showcase (2022) 

Sherman’s Showcase is a variety show inspired by the likes of Soul Train and The Midnight Special. Hosted by Sherman McDaniel, each show takes the viewers through time via music and comedy, and in the latest season, Issa Rae is one of the many guest stars fans are excited to see.

Want more shows and movies like Insecure or The Photograph? 

We love Issa Rae, but she’s not the only talent out here that you should know about. BlackOakTV is serving up today’s independent Black creators on a platter, and much of their work looks like a bona fide snack. So discover more of what Black creators have to offer by checking out our Black TV shows and movies right now!

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