There is seemingly absolutely nothing awkward about Issa Rae these days, especially as the beautiful and brilliant mind behind any number of projects currently in development takes center stage on Essence’s April issue. The issue is the magazine’s first in partnership with the newly relaunched Apple News+, now available as a monthly subscription service. In addition to featuring the absolutely stunning Ms. Rae on both their print and digital covers, photographed by Itaysha Jordan and styled by Jason Rembert, Essence reportedly stole the show at Apple’s relaunch announcement with the unveiling of several new innovative elements readers can look forward to.
“Essence has been working with the Apple team on this exciting launch showcasing our stunning cover star Issa Rae, in addition to our exciting beauty feature package—all shot by black female photographers,” said Essence’s Chief Content & Creative Officer MoAna Luu, in a statement. “This launch presented us with the perfect opportunity to convey the important message of diversity and inclusion in media. Essence is changing the landscape with the addition of our new video cover element as part of this launch. This was a groundbreaking opportunity for us and we know that our audience will agree.”
But while all eyes were on Issa’s dazzling covers, more than a few couldn’t help but notice some extra sparkle—on her ring finger?
Color us late, but clearly, we weren’t the only ones to miss as-yet-unconfirmed reports that Rae recently became engaged to purported longtime boyfriend Louis Diame (also of Senegalese descent, like Issa). While some say the star made an announcement on Instagram earlier this month (if so, it’s been deleted), others claim to have seen her as recently as this past weekend without the bling in question. (It certainly wasn’t visible during a decent Women’s Health cover shoot.)
In fact, all a perfunctory stalking of Rae’s IG page turned up was a very subtle appearance of the ring on March 4, as she celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans (and where, coincidentally, her Essence cover shoot also took place).
What does it all mean??? The understandably private Rae made no mention of any upcoming changes to her marital status in Essence’s cover story—but the co-star of the upcoming Little did reflect on her teenage years, before she and the rest of the world realized the obvious: she’s a stunner, inside and out.
Rae wasn’t the first girl picked for romantic entanglements. But she also wasn’t the type to sit around on the bench feeling sorry for herself. Instead she focused on ‘being smart, being accomplished and being respected. As corny as it sounds, I want you to just like my mind,’ she says. ‘I think a part of it just came from figuring out that the guys I like, I’m not their type. Learning that early on made me realize there’s no point in valuing the physical, because it wasn’t going to get me anywhere. So what can I control, and what can I bring to the table? How can I be valued in this way?’
Rae also admits that men have never been her primary focus, and to typically being “kind of flippant about relationships and men in general.” Whatever the formula for her success, it’s clearly working, with or without a ring on her finger, so we’re thrilled for her, no matter what. If she’s a found a partner who works with her, so much the better!