Issa Rae and her HBO series Insecure are synonymous. However, if some television executives had their way early on, Lauren London would have been cast in the titular role of Issa D instead of Issa. The idea that London and Rae were interchangeable was problematic, to say the least, something Rae pointed out early on in her career. Unfortunately, it was something London took offense to, and for years the pair had beef. During a recent sit down with The Breakfast Club, she shed light on their current relationship.
Many may not recall, but an earlier version of Insecure exist on youtube in the form of Issa’s web series Awkward Black Girl. This was the project that caught the attention of television executives way back in 2011 when it premiered. As Issa began to field deals to take the property to the next level, they started to discuss ways to make the show more accessible by casting a lighter-skinned lead.
Issa spoke in-depth with Vanity Fair about this back in May. According to the piece, Issa has talked about executives wanting to cast London in Insecure both in interviews and even in her memoir. Vanity Fair says, “The moral of the story was not only that executives were out of touch with Black women, swapping one for another even when they were nothing alike, but also that dark-skinned Black women could be edited out of their own narratives.”
Lauren London was ultimately upset about this. “One of my biggest regrets, naming her,” Issa told VF. “She took offense to that.” Luckily, London’s husband Nipsey Hussle helped the pair squash their differences before his untimely passing in 2019. Issa told the story about how he pulled her to the side Sean “Diddy” Combs party and encouraged her to talk to his wife.
According to sources, “The rapper approached Rae at the party and encouraged her to make things right. “He was like, ‘You should just talk to her. Let me set it up.”
Issa and London ended up talking for two hours and realizing that they had so much in common. London revealed that she felt like an awkward black girl as well and deeply related to Issa’s character. It helped Issa realize that her show was changing the scoop of the kind of characters black women relate too.
During her discussion with The Breakfast Club, she touched on this topic again. The group chatted about Issa investing in South Los Angeles and putting money back into the community, much like Nipsey Hussle did.
“What was the whole thing? Nip was squashing beef? You had beef with Lauren?” asked Charlamagne.
Issa explains, “That was blown out of proportion. Me and Lauren are great. We’re cool.” She goes on to say it was a misunderstanding. She also says that her first and only time speaking to Nip was that even that, he helped her and Lauren London patch things up.