PRESIDENTIAL LECTURE SERIES KICKS-OFF FEELING “SECURE” WITH A VISIT FROM ISSA RAE
Signature event draws hundreds to Dillard’s campus as HBO star discusses her life
and encourages students to pursue their passion now.
Written by: Staff
For Walter M. Kimbrough and hundreds of others who lined the walls of Lawless Memorial
Chapel Tuesday evening, dreams do come true.
“I thought it was impossible to bring the hottest star today to Dillard University,”
said Kimbrough, amidst thunderous cheers and applause. But the University’s seventh
president was reminded that the possibilities are limitless with his signature Brain
Food Lecture Series – designed to continue the Dillard tradition of welcoming noted
voices to campus and amplify discussions around race, politics, community building,
culture, as well as entertainment.
Issa Rae, the co-creator of Insecure, the critically acclaimed HBO original comedy-drama series, spoke at Dillard about
her experiences growing up in predominantly white environments, attending Stanford
University and breaking into the entertainment industry.
Rae’s conversation with Kimbrough in front of a full house came days before the season
finale of the show and kicked-off the 2017-2018 Brain Food Lecture Series.
Through whit and candor, she encouraged students to start working toward their goals
now. Rae said students should tap into their existing networks to remain anchored
“My advice would be to look next to you and partner with people who are equally as
focused and as passionate as you are,” said Rae, who has family living in New Orleans.
“I didn’t do this by myself by any means. I found them and they found me, and we are
working toward one goal. I think that’s what’s helped me…finding people as liked minded
as you are.”
The capacity crowd signaled to not only Kimbrough, but for many in attendance that
Rae, who’s grandmother graduated from Dillard, along with her characters on Insecure such as Molly, Lawrence and Dro, resonate with viewers on Dillard’s campus and beyond.
In fact, this was the largest crowd to attend a Brain Food lecture. Approximately
850 people were seated inside of Lawless Chapel and another 100 waited outside hoping
to get in or get a glimpse of the Los Angeles native. In addition, the discussion
was streamed live on Facebook and received nearly 4,000 views.
“This is the only place in the state where for free you could have heard Michael Eric
Dyson, Iyanla, Kirk Franklin, Misty Copeland…,” Kimbrough said. “They all been here
– only at Dillard. So going into year five, I wanted to shock all of that.”
Rae transformed her life’s experiences as a self-described “awkward black girl” into
a YouTube web series, The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl (2011) and a memoir (2015) that’s a New York Times Best Seller and to Insecure, (2016) of which she’s the co-creator, co-writer and star. Insecure is an exploration into a contemporary black experience of love, friendship and professional
pursuits that’s primarily told through the lens of women. When asked about reaching
a mainstream audience, Rae told the LA Times: “We’re just trying to convey that people
of color are relatable. This is not a hood story. This is about regular people living
life.” To that end, Insecure was renewed for a third season and has been nominated for numerous awards, including
a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy.
Dillard will welcome Malcolm Nance, MSNBC Terrorism and Intelligence Expert and Best Selling Author of The Plot to Hack America, as the next speaker in the Brain Food Lecture Series Wednesday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m. in Georges Auditorium.