Issa Rae (Courtesy of Jabari Jacobs)
Issa Rae has been tapped to serve as the ambassador for the 2022 American Black Film Festival (ABFF), and she’s bringing a special treat to Miami Beach. Rae will screen her highly anticipated HBO Max series “Rap Sh!t” for the festival’s closing night on June 18.
“I’m honored to be this year’s Festival Ambassador,” said Rae, announcing her participation. “ABFF was the first major festival to showcase my work and they continue to elevate Black creatives from the ground level.”
She added: “It’s also fun as hell.”
The festival, widely recognized as a leading platform for Black content creators, returns live to Miami Beach from June 15-19. As festival ambassador, Rae will join ABFF founders Jeff and Nicole Friday onstage for welcome remarks during the opening night ceremony. Then, as part of the festival’s Saturday night lineup, she’ll screen “Rap Sh!t” — which is set in and shot on location in Miami.
“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.”
Rae burst onto the scene with the award-winning web series and NY Times best-selling book “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” and has risen to multi-hyphenate mogul status with the Peabody-winning comedy series “Insecure.” The multiple Emmy- and Golden Globe- nominated HBO comedy series wrapped its fifth and final season in 2021.
It was most recently recognized by the Television Academy Honors, which heralds “exceptional television programs and their producers who have leveraged the immense power of television to fuel social change.”
In 2020, Rae formed Hoorae, a multi-faceted media company comprised of Hoorae Media for film, TV and digital; Raedio, the music label, music supervision company, and “audio everywhere” company; and ColorCreative, its management division. Under the company’s rich overall deal with Warner Bros. Discovery, Rae also executive produces the Emmy-nominated series “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” the docuseries “Sweet Life: Los Angeles” and the upcoming show “Rap Sh*t.” On the big-screen, Rae’s credits include “Little,” “The Photograph” and “Lovebirds,” with high-profile upcoming roles like voicing Jessica Drew in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”
Previous ABFF ambassadors include Halle Berry, Mary J. Blige, Idris Elba, Tracee Ellis Ross, Regina Hall, La La Anthony, Jay Ellis, Morris Chestnut, Omari Hardwick, Common, Taraji P. Henson and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Following the in-person segment of the festival, ABFF continues with virtual events hosted from June 20-30 on ABFF PLAY, the festival’s custom-designed online platform.
Variety's Angelique Jackson contributed to this post.