Luck in Career: Issa Rae

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Hello, and welcome back to my channel. I thought I would change it up by reading on an actress—Issa Rae! I thought about making just one long video on her career but decided to split it up to a two-part series. Here, we will look at her luck in career.

On my blog, if a person’s birth time was known, I would look at their money, work-, and career-related houses of the 2nd, 6th, and 10th houses, describe them, their rulers, and any planets in the house. At the end I would look specifically at the conditions of the rulers and determine the overall “luck” the person would have in their career. I took this from a Hellenistic technique called “the triplicity rulers of the sect light” which was used to determine a person’s luck in life. I don’t know how effective it is in the way I am using it but it’s fun to do. Anyway, let’s look at Issa’s background and chart.

Mini Biography

Issa started her career on YouTube, and I consider her to be one of the only few that have been able to successfully transition from the platform into the mainstream. By “successfully” I don’t just mean financially, I mean she isn’t “cringe” and has been able to maintain her mainstream status, not having to return to YouTube to be relevant. I think many can say Issa is an actual actress, and a rather good one, I may add.

Born Jo-Issa Rae Diop to a Senegalese father and black American mother, Issa spent her childhood in Potomac, Maryland, Dakar, Senegal, and the wealthy black neighborhood of View Park-Windsor Hills in Los Angeles where she took up acting during high school. This love for acting and film continued into Issa’s understudy at Stanford University as she would make everything from music videos, plays, and even a mockumentary series called Dorm Diaries, which you can still find on YouTube.

After graduating in 2007, Issa got a fellowship at the Public Theater in New York. She planned to pitch Dorm Diaries to MTV or BET which had gained popularity online, specifically on Facebook where she uploaded the series. However, everything changed when one day, Issa was robbed in the night. The thieves took her recording equipment, including her laptops, previously recorded content, and even her scripts and the pitch reel of Dorm Diaries. Although defeated, Issa continued to attend film networking events to make connections, which was immensely difficult for her. Supposedly after a rather bad event, Issa was back at home drawing in her journal, eventually writing the words, ‘‘I’m awkward. And black.’’ It was these simple words that gave Issa the inspiration for her YouTube series, Awkward Black Girl, where she starred as the protagonist J, who was, you guessed it, awkward and black just like her.

The series premiered on February 3rd, 2011 and was very successful. It was so successful, in fact, that when Issa launched a Kickstarter to fund the rest of the season in July of that year, only asking for $5,000, it reached over $56,000 in a month. This enabled Issa and her friend Tracy Oliver who acted as the producer of the series, to release the rest of the series on Issa’s YouTube channel. Awkward Black Girl caught many eyes within the entertainment industry, but all who approached Issa wanted to change it, something that is not unusual for industry big wigs to do to popular black content. Luckily, Issa turned them all down and just focused on doing what she was already doing. Interestingly, Pharrell was also captivated by the series, going out of his way to reach out to Issa and offer to personally fund the second season, promising to not change anything, just front the money. This resulted in the final season of “Awkward Black Girl” to air on his YouTube channel “iamOTHER” on June 4th, 2012.

Due to all the media attention Issa was getting, she received a call from HBO asking for a pitch in 2013. Issa came back to them with a concept that seems very familiar. The series would focus on an awkward black woman in her 30s who was a loosely based off Issa and would star her, of course. This series was Insecure. With the help of Larry Wilmore who has pretty much written for every black show that has existed from In Living Color to The Bernie Mac Show, and Prentice Penny who worked on Scrubs, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Happy Endings, the show was set up for success despite white executives wanting to whiten the cast to, according to them, make white people care about the show, not feel alienated by the large black cast, and win awards. Issa resisted, insisting on maintaining her vision, and it looks like she won out in the end. Thus, Insecure went on for five total seasons, the last of which just concluded, for a span of 5 years.  

In between Insecure, Issa also made a return to the big screen, producing mostly short films in 2014 to 2015. However, from 2018 onward, she has had major roles in movies such as The Hate U Give and Little. The Photograph and The Lovebirds marked the beginning of Issa being the leading actress. Finally, Issa’s other ventures include running her production company, Hoorae Media, which signed a 5-year deal with Warner Media in May of 2021, managing a record label called Raedio, and releasing a memoir in 2015 titled, Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.

With this mini biography out of the way, let us get into Issa’s natal chart.

Issa’s Natal Chart

According to Astro Databank, Issa Rae is a Taurus rising, Capricorn Sun, and Libra Moon. They got this information from a video where an astrologer read her natal chart. With a Taurus rising, Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are on Issa’s 2nd, 6th, and 10th whole houses, respectively. What does this all mean?

Gemini on the 2nd house

With Gemini on the 2nd house, Issa will make a [living] from her words, both in her writing and oratory skills. We already see this. She not only acts but writes. For many, they can either do one or the other, not always both. Or not both so early in their career. Issa is different; she is a jack of all trades, which is a characteristic of Gemini as it is mutable and ruled by Mercury. This sign can definitely be multitalented when it is focused. When unfocused, it is often a master of none but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Issa. She has written, produced, and performed. She also has experience in various media forms, from digital to traditional. Gemini on the 2nd house often indicates that the native will have multiple streams of income, and for Issa, she is clearly getting money in numerous areas—from her pitches and concepts, writing, performances, and businesses.

Issa’s Mercury is in Capricorn conjunct her Neptune by 30 seconds. This is a very intense conjunction and one that speaks to romanticizing the mundane. This is because earth signs deal with the everyday, with Capricorn more dealing with the hardships and grind of everyday life as Saturn is its ruler. Neptune signifies what is glamorous and refined, which in part gives it the reputation of being the supposed “higher octave” of Venus. With it conjunct Mercury, Issa zeros in on the mundane but knows how to make it interesting and appealing. What may be boring to most, she can elevate and create entire worlds and storylines from. And we see this across her works. They deal with ordinary people living their lives and yet the stories she creates are captivating and fun to watch. Fans and those in the industry seem to agree as Issa has received mostly positive reviews for Insecure and the movies she has starred in, even being nominated multiple times not only for her performances but writing.

Another thing I want to touch upon with Issa’s Mercury is that it is copresent with her Sun, Jupiter, and Midheaven. Her Sun in this conjunction to Mercury shows how her money is tied to who she is. As I have highlighted back in the biography section, both Awkward Black Girl and Insecure are essentially the same premise. Issa is the awkward black girl who is also a bit insecure. So, the ruler 2nd house with the Sun shows that Issa references herself in her writing, which is not a bad thing; most writers use their own lives and experiences for creative inspiration. I just find it interesting that her natal chart shows us this so clearly. This placement can also indicate her starring in either her own work or others’ is another way she will earn money, especially with the Midheaven also here.

The Midheaven shows your life’s work, or career, status in life, and reputation. Sometimes people don’t make money from their careers or how they make money doesn’t always impact how people at large view them or determine their social standing. For Issa, her writings, speaking gigs, acting, and other skillsets all influence her career, what she will be known for, and her social status during this lifetime. If she plays her cards right, all of this will produce her money and a livelihood, which it has done so far. With Jupiter involved in this Capricorn stellium she has, it is ensuring that things in life, especially in terms of her career, will work out for Issa, even though it is debilitated by sign and due to its proximity to the Sun. Jupiter is the planet of good luck as it signifies the confirmation and stabilization of good things. Jupiter also oversees wealth and profits. So, although it is weak and rather far away from her Mercury, it being in the same sign as her Mercury indicates that Issa will live a good life as she will not only make consistently great money but have a long-lasting career with a good reputation to match. However, Chiron is in her 2nd house.

Chiron is an asteroid I have been incorporating in my readings lately, and I use it similarly to how I interpret the lunar nodes. That is, I view it as showing a person’s past lives and what types of baggage they are bringing over. In Gemini, Issa may have some hang ups surrounding speaking and writing. If her “awkward black girl” brand was any indicator, she may have struggled with speaking her mind and allowing herself to express her creativity through her words. This is not surprising as those with a Capricorn Mercury often have these very same issues growing up and well into adulthood. This is because Saturn rules Mercury here.

Saturn is the planet of restrictions and misery. However, this seems to really manifest when the planet is in a nocturnal chart and/or sign like Capricorn. Therefore, Issa may be rather slow to speak but she comes off as very thoughtful and wise. This is because she thinks long and hard before voicing her opinions. But this can be the result of believing that no one values what you have to say or thinking that when you do speak, no one listens. Indeed, Capricorn people will spend a very long time building up their self-confidence. Typically, however, life tends to be much easier after 30 since Saturn returns to its natal position in the chart around ages 28 to 30. Astrologers seem to be of the opinion that after Saturn makes its return, those who are ruled by Saturn or for those that which Saturn plays a prominent role in the chart, especially, will see whatever obstacles the planet has brought into their life subside as the planet will begin to work with the native instead of against them.

Issa has her Saturn in Scorpio interestingly conjunct her South Node, and very intensely by only 6 seconds. So, it seems as though she has some strong karma following her into this life. But even so, Saturn in her chart is only her moderate malefic since her chart is diurnal. This means that it is much more likely to be less malefic than her Mars, and thus cause her less problems. Regardless, in spite of Chiron’s presence in the 2nd house, I believe that Issa is working through her wound surrounding communication and money. And by working through it, she has seen abundance and prosperity.

Libra on the 6th house

Issa has Libra on her 6th house. The 6th house is about one’s job or everyday work. It also shows apprenticeships and co-workers. This is not all that is assigned to this house, but we will focus on these areas. Libra on this house indicates that Issa’s work will always involve at least one other person in a partnership. Again, we have already seen this in her life. In her web series, she partnered with a college friend to produce the show, for example. Pharrell reached out to partner as well, personally funding the second season. When it comes to Insecure, Issa has had the help of Larry Wilmore who became a sort of mentor to her through the screenwriting process. According to an interview with The New York Times, Wilmore would sit with Issa on his building’s rooftop for hours chatting about her life. From their discussions, they built the first script of Insecure from. Talks with Penny also helped to shape the tone and other intricate details of the show. Communication is very important to Issa’s money and career as air signs sit upon all of these houses. For her every day, however, it is important that she is able to talk to people one-on-one like she did with Wilmore and Penny. Without this type of communication and intimate relations, Issa would not be able to have the career that she has.

Libra may be ruled by Venus, making it relationship focused, but being an air sign means that communication and relationships need to be fair and cordial. I think many people forget about this air component, but Libra on the 6th house often means that a person will find that they have to compromise and keep things friendly when it comes to work. In Issa’s case, when she does this, she will find that her visions can get off the ground much easier and see success more quickly. Again, we have seen this. I don’t think I have to harp too much on this point, so let us discuss how Libra is often described, sometimes over described in my opinion, as the relationship sign.

Venus is the planet of love and partnership. Libra, at least to me, is more like a judge, which makes sense as Saturn is exalted in this sign. Yes, Libra is also concerned about love and partnerships, but I think people overexaggerate Libra’s potential to fall into toxic relationships because as an air sign, Libra wants a partnership that is equal—where itself and the other person are in perfect alignment. I guess think of it like the Lovers card in tarot. Libra is more about balance and harmony, and a love that is imbalanced and inharmonious on either side is not what the sign is about. Anyway, Libra on Issa’s 6th house shows that her work focuses on love, and not just romantic love but love in all its forms. Insecure, for example, is not just about Issa’s romantic entanglements; it is about her friends and her relationships with them. I think this is the main draw to Issa’s projects and something she also feels particularly drawn towards.

Her Venus is exalted in Pisces copresent with Mars. This indicates that when she is in love, she is in love, very passionately and emotionally so. It is interesting that it is in the 11th house of friendships, however. This drives the point home that romantic love is not all that Issa is concerned about when it comes to her projects. She also likes to explore larger social situations, mainly those that many would interpret to be awkward, or she finds embarrassing for herself. This is interesting as Pisces is not a socially awkward sign. Pisces is very alluring and charming albeit a bit strange and elusive at times. Thus, this social discomfort is likely her Chiron and Capricorn placements all at work. Capricorn in particular can make individuals feel like a late bloomer and lame in life until they are much older, and they start to let themselves go a bit. So, it not her Venus that is causing this, I believe.

In any case, Issa has her Moon in the 6th house, indicating many things. Similar to her Venus, she is very relationship minded. We can see this elsewhere, namely with her Saturn and South Node in the 7th house. These placements suggest that love was intensely dealt with in past lives and may have been heartbreaking or otherwise full of disappointments with Saturn’s presence there. In this life, it seems that Issa is approaching love from a more balanced perspective. Perhaps she had a very narrow view of love as Scorpio sits on her 7th house. Maybe she refused to open herself up to the possibility that love could include friends and other people. In either case, Issa is learning that life is much bigger than she thought and is shifting her perspective on the soul level.

Her Moon in the 6th house can also indicate that working for her has to be emotionally meaningful and fulfilling. All earth Suns can fall into this trap of being a slave to their work, believing if they just grind and grind and grind, maybe they can eventually retire with the fruits of their labor sustaining them. Libra overcomes or dominates Capricorn. Being an air sign, it can clearly see that this logic is flawed, and that pessimistic thinking only worsens one’s situation in life. With her Moon in this sign, Issa understands that to an extent, but with it squaring her Mercury and Neptune, she may fight this and go back and forward between believing she has to work herself to the bone and realizing that that is no way to live. As the saying goes, “Do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” But what if that doesn’t work or last? With her Mercury in Capricorn, Issa can get bogged down by these negative thoughts. Although we see success and fulfillment on the outside, internally, that may be a different story, a story Issa writes and rewrites over and over again.

Aquarius on the 10th house

Aquarius sits on Issa’s 10th house, but her Midheaven is in Capricorn in the 9th house. When using the whole sign house system, the Midheaven or Medium Coeli no longer starts the 10th house. Instead, the MC turns into a point that still has 10th house significators but can appear anywhere from the 8th house to the 12th house in extreme latitudes, but most commonly appears in the 9th to 11th houses. Many astrologers interpret the Midheaven in the 9th house to mean that the native’s career is potentially tied to other countries, travel, academia, publishing, or religion/spirituality/the metaphysics—all 9th house activities. But astrologer Patrick Watson has a different yet fascinating take on the Midheaven not being in the 10th whole sign.

Interpreting the houses through Zodiacal motion—that is, counterclockwise—he asserts that the 9th house is where a person is preparing for their career. It is the time where they are gaining the knowledge, experience, and skills that are needed before they can jump into their field of choice. This makes sense as society rather globally places a heavy emphasis on having some sort of post-secondary education—preferably represented tangibly through a degree—in order to be “ready” to “properly” enter the workforce. Consequently, the 10th house is when the native is on the job and actively building up their career. The following 11th house is where they reap the rewards of their work. This is when they receive money, acclaim, and many fans. So, for Watson, the Midheaven angle sort of “wobbles.” Therefore, “[t]he Zenith/Whole Sign 10th describes the central period in the narrative of one’s career and their actions but the house placement of the MC shows which part of that narrative was incidentally the most personally significant and in the context of topics associated with the house” (Watson, 2019). So, for Issa, the MC being in the 9th house suggests that her work and status may be more predicated on how she got to that point instead of the actual work she has done. In many ways this seems to be true.

There are numerous articles and interviews that talk about Issa’s comeuppance and how she was groundbreaking because she was a dark-skinned black woman who often wore her short natural hair. This is interesting because Aquarius on the 10th house often speaks of a person who is an activist whether literally or just figuratively because they champion for social causes. They are concerned about groups of people but sometimes this doesn’t always mean every single person in existence. Aquarius is very objective and wise because it is an air sign, but because it is also fixed, its perspective can be a bit myopic at times. What this means that it tends to zero in only on the plights of the groups it belongs to. This isn’t “bad” on its face; in fact, it’s very difficult to be an activist to all. One has to narrow their scope in order to be effective. For Issa, although she speaks more broadly about “people of color” in the media, what she tends to focus the most on is blackness, specifically how black women have been portrayed on screen.

Indeed, having grown up in both black and white spaces, in a time where there was actually a good roaster of black shows airing on TV, graduating with a degree in African and African-American studies, and being a producer, writer, and actress on the small and big screens, Issa intimately understands how the white supremacist gaze shapes everything from media to your everyday life. Consequently, Issa has been on record fighting for Insecure to authentically show not only her life but black life. Because of how white the entertainment industry is and the pushback she got during the show’s early on, Issa made it a point to have writers of color in the writing room and all throughout the lines of production.

Issa was so determined to pump writers of color into the television world that she co-founded ColorCreative in 2014, which is described on the website as “a management company dedicated to supporting diverse creators and producing inclusive content.” Its mission is “to increase opportunities for women and minority talent, these roots are central to who we are and the talent we represent.” Issa said she created the platform in part because of “her own difficulties with the network pitching process,” according to The New York Times. ‘‘I don’t ever want it to be just me, ever,’’ she said. ‘‘That is the worst feeling, to be alone, because then all the pressure is on you. People expect you to be the voice of everyone.’’ This latter part is interesting because it underscores the difference between Capricorn and Aquarius.

Because Capricorn is cardinal, it is very individualistic and identity focused. It wants to contribute to the world, but it does so from a place of ego. It wants to be acknowledged, praised, and rewarded for its efforts, especially tangibly and materially. Aquarius, because it is airy, is communal and group-oriented despite modern astrologers claiming that this is one of the most individualistic of signs. Aquarius does not care about accolades and being singled out for recognition. It is like a monk or hermit on the mountain top looking down at the world. From its urn, it gives its knowledge freely to the masses. That is Aquarius’s role. So, with Issa having Aquarius on the 10th house but a Capricorn Midheaven, there is a potential for an internal conflict when it comes to her work. That is because Issa may be pulled in different directions when it comes to her visions and who she wants to represent to the world. She cannot speak for every black person nor black woman through her works…but is that okay?

In the Mic article, Issa notes that she was very intentional in the initial promotion of Insecure because she knew that it being a very black focused show would drum up complaints and criticisms that it doesn’t represent every black person. “This is a very specific Black female experience — it’s my specific one — we cannot represent all of that,” she said. Issa’s works center around race, gender, and class, sure, but they also showcase her life and how she deals with race, gender, and class. This emphasis on the personal instead of the impersonal is very much her Capricorn Midheaven, not Aquarius on her 10th house.

Even so, Issa’s concerted efforts to depict black people on screen is very much Aquarius. Issa using her money and influence to elevate black people and other people of color through her businesses and organizations is a mix of Aquarius and Capricorn. Aquarius is very good at creating theory and teaching but sometimes misses that physical, practical component. Capricorn, being earthy, can take whatever Aquarius theorizes and transform that into things people can use. So, Issa can back up what she says very concretely. We can have a thousand conversations about why inclusion and diversity are important and good, especially in the entertainment industry, but it is another thing to create the means to make that a reality. And this isn’t to discredit philosophers, activists, scholars, academics, essayists, etc.! This is just to highlight the differences between the two signs and how they may manifest in Issa’s life. She has the ideas and values, but then she puts her money where her mouth is quite literally and creates the spaces, organizations, and platforms to materialize her convictions.

It likely helps that Issa’s Saturn is in Scorpio. This is a very determined and intense sign. Saturn being here suggests that Issa is a fighter. When her mind is set on something, she doesn’t stop until the very end. Because her chart is diurnal, this ambitious nature of hers tends to work more for her than against her. Issa has stamina and knows how to pace her grand ideas.

Issa’s Luck in Career

What is on the screen is the conditions of Issa’s rulers that lord over her 2nd, 6th, and 10th houses along with some other things. There is no precise science to this and bonification and maltreatment can be a bit convoluted, but basically, I think Issa will have modest to good fortune in her career. None of her rulers here are bonified nor maltreated, which means that they are both not helped nor hindered by what they are trying to bring about, respectively. But even so, they are all in very good houses which does help them out. Jupiter is interesting to look at here because it is actually in a rather bad spot. It is in fall and combust which are debilities. This means that Jupiter is not doing too hot. However, it is still her most benefic planet, and with it tightly conjunct her Midheaven, it is trying its best to bless her career. And I think it has in addition to the rulers of her 2nd, 6th, and 10th houses. But what do you all think? Leave a comment in the comment section! Next time we will directly look into Issa’s career through oracle cards. Stay tuned!

End of Transcript

References

Brennan, Chris. (2017). Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune. Denver, CO: Amor Fati Publications.

Houlding, Deborah. (2006). The Houses: Temples of the Sky. Bournemouth, England: The Wessex Astrology Ltd.

Jordan, Jamal. (2021, Oct. 6). Issa Rae and the New Rules of Black TV. Retrieved from https://www.mic.com/culture/issa-rae-cover-story-october-2021

Watson, Patrick. (2019, Jun. 17). What To Do When the Midheaven Is Not in the 10th Whole Sign House. Retrieved from https://patrickwatsonastrology.com/what-to-do-when-the-midheaven-is-not-in-the-10th-whole-sign-house/

Wolf, Jessica. (2020, Oct. 22). Diversity improves among TV actors, but executives still overwhelmingly white and male. Retrieved from https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/hollywood-diversity-report-2020-television

Wortham, Jenna. (2015, Aug. 4). The Misadventures of Issa Rae. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/magazine/the-misadventures-of-issa-rae.html

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2 thoughts on “Luck in Career: Issa Rae

    1. Hello! I just Googled and it seems as though Doja’s birth time has been revealed! I will definitely put Doja on my list of people to read next. Thank you for informing me! 😀

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