Issa Rae recently brought star power, authenticity, and [hella] good vibes to Washington D.C for her HOORAE x Kennedy Center Weekend Takeover, and BOSSIP was in the building to witness it.
As previously reported Raedio and media company HOORAE, both owned by Issa Rae, curated a series of marquee events and talent appearances as part of the Kennedy Center’s 50th-anniversary celebration designed to “create engagement within diverse communities, inspire creatives, and showcase its upcoming film, television, and musical offerings.” Guests were encouraged not to be on “weird s**” and network while “finding your people” throughout the weekend.
The events carried that theme while honoring Black artists and the community’s contributions to music and entertainment.
Highlights and special guests in attendance throughout the weekend included Nike giving $25K scholarships to select Howard University students who participated in a Beyond the Ball competition…
soul songstress Mereba who gave performed for a sold-out crowd during ‘pieces,’ powered by Spotify’s Frequency before gold grillin’ with Issa…
and DJ and personality Lil Bacon Bear hosting HOORAE’s VIP Welcome Party powered by Grey Goose while DJ Domo provided the evening’s soundtrack.
An especially entertaining moment came when Crissle and Kid Fury of The Read gave guests a first listen to their original comedy album.
For the event, the prominent personalities/podcasters hilariously recapped events from the 90s that would have been viral moments if social media existed.
In traditional The Read fashion, they also took questions from the audience and hilarity ensued.
They then surprised guests with a performance from raucous raptress Flo Milli.
“I’m a huge fan, I’ve been a huge fan of this girl ever since she released the “Beef” remix,” said Fury about Milli.
The Alabama rapper ran through her hits including “Eat It Up” while encouraging the crowd to “switch it up” like her.
The Read’s live show and Flo Milli performance came after Fury, 34, premiered his deeply personal short film “Undertow” detailing his battle with anxiety and depression.
“It’s really personal and important to me,” said Fury about the project that was shot over several years while he toured for The Read. Created alongside his producing partner Michael Troll, “Undertow” also included childhood footage of Fury who said his name comes from “being mad as hell” while growing up in Miami.
The project was screened during HOORAE’s Short Film Sunday (Saturday Edition) which also gave watchers an inside look at short film, “If These Locs Could Talk.” Created by a Black female-led team consisting of Brittney Janae, Jah Brielle, and Khadijah Fanaka, the short poetic documentary detailed the loc journeys of the likes of the Farris family that include, rapper D-Smoke, his brother/fellow artist Davion Farris and their father.
Short Film Sunday (Saturday Edition) was presented by HOORAE Events in conjunction with Color of Change’s #ChangeIndustries initiative and the DC Office of Cable Television, Fim, Music, and Entertainment.
The weekend that was bristling with Black excellence capped off with “A Sip with Issa Rae,” the popular and unscripted series of “fireside chats” between Rae and an array of A-list Hollywood talent over cocktails.
This year, Emmy Award-winning actress, singer, producer, author, philanthropist, and millennial voice Keke Palmer joined the intimate series and it was filled with as many “gags” and giggles as you’d expect.
KeKe and Issa kicked off their convo with a shot of tequila and toasted to “love, positivity, free-thinking and evolution” before dishing on KeKe’s 20-year acting career that started when she was just 8-years-old. According to KeKe, she didn’t really take the reigns of her entertainment career until she turned 18.
“Even though before then I wanted to do entertainment—I’m a kid, I can’t make any business decisions because people will take advantage of me, “said KeKe during “A Sip.” “It had to be in my parent’s hands as far as setting the foundation for what type of roles I want to be a part of.”
Later in between laughs, she and Issa got candid about what Issa called the “KeKe is doing too much” period, a time when the actress’ career was ebbing and while she was continuously criticized on social media.
“I’m gonna get real real right now,” said Issa during “A Sip.” “I remember the ‘KeKe is doing too much period’ and now we’re in an era of KeKe should be doing EVERYTHING—your rightful era,” said Issa.
KeKe surmised that the criticism was partly because of her transition from child star to an adult.
“You’re a child entertainer and then you’re no longer a child so your brand dissolves,” said KeKe. “Your brand is solely about you being a child, I can’t be like Shirley Temple and [be] 6-feet [tall]. So I rebuilt and I really used social media to do that, but what happens is when people are so used to your brand doing one thing when you try to do something new they’re like; where is she going with this?!”
“It just took time,” she added noting her multifaceted career in music, acting and comedy. “Nobody remembers those moments [of criticism] people just remember that ‘KeKe’s been that girl!’. I’ve always been that girl to me, but to y’all was…” she added with a laugh. “It’s really a part of life and I really try not to take it personal.”
KeKe also offered advice to the HOORAE x Kennedy Center Takeover crowd and told them to simply “stay focused” and avoid comparisons.
Ultimately Issa’s HOORAE x Kennedy Center Weekend Takeover was yet another moment of “thriving in abundance” for the multihyphenate Insecure creator.
During a roundtable with the press including BOSSIP, she shared that she had a goal of “showcasing what Hoorae has to offer” while “aligning with creators and artists.”
Mission very much so accomplished, Issa.
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