Actress Issa Rae, whose five-season run with the show “Insecure” ended with a finale this weekend, has dipped more than one toe in the music industry.
She launched her own label, Raedio, and is producing a new show about budding rappers, using her existing career to help launch music. But rather than appearing to be thrilled to branch out into another industry, Rae looks like she’s entered a viper’s den, variety.com reports.
When asked if the music industry is “a place where good ideas flourish,” Issa Rae replied, “Absolutely not.”
“It’s probably the worst industry I’ve ever encountered,” Issa Rae told Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times in a Q&A about his personal and professional experiences with music.
“I thought Hollywood was crazy,” Rae continued.
“The music industry, it has to start all over again. There are a lot of conflicts of interest. Archaic mentalities. Bad guys and criminals! It’s an addictive industry, and I really feel for the artists who need help. ‘to go into it… It was a shocking thing to find out,’ Issa Rae said.
Rae did not go into her dismay with the music industry beyond generalities, but indicated that her feelings were based on a combination of her own experiences creating soundtracks and listening to artists on what they deal with regularly.
“I don’t want to be too specific, but even making our own appointments (for soundtracks) with labels or artists, it would be so complex. And to know how artists were treated on other labels… When I’m a creator myself and I know what I want from a relationship with a production company or a producer, I would like to think that ‘we’re more artist-friendly than a lot of other brands and companies out there. I want to renew things.
Issa Rae also hit out at the Grammys in the interview and singled out one record in particular that she thought was unfairly snubbed.
“What really bothers me – and it fits with Hollywood – is how music is rewarded. When I think of the Grammys and these other systems designed to reward artistic creativity and elevate artists, I just ‘feel you don’t understand. What are you rewarding?’
“It’s stupid, but I’ll say it anyway: a song like ‘Essence’ (by Wizkid) – simply a powerhouse, and yet could not be properly recognized by the institution that is supposed to celebrate the best of the music – which trips me out. Seeing black people and our contributions to music not being celebrated as they should – I mean, these are not institutions for the United States.
Wizkid’s “Essence” was nominated for a Grammy for World’s Best Musical Performance, but not for Record of the Year. Asked about the omission in a recent interview with Billboard, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said, “It’s a great record. He is a very talented artist. I can’t explain why it didn’t succeed, but I really like this record.
Issa Rae had plenty of good words for the individual artists in the interview, naturally highlighting the 2021 hits of Jazmine Sullivan, who recorded a title track for “Insecure” in Season 2 with Bryson Tiller, saying: “She’s just literally pure talent.”
Rae also cited Don Toliver and Cleo Sol as personal musical favorites this year.
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