You're About to Engage in Hella Learning Because Issa Rae Is Teaching a MasterClass

MasterClass: Issa Rae
MasterClass: Issa Rae
Photo: Courtesy of MasterClass

I have a cute and endearing story right quick.

The day was December 15, 2016, and I saw a promotion for an upcoming MasterClass featuring Shonda Rhimes as an instructor and the topic was “Teaching Writing for Television.” Shortly after seeing it, I (half-jokingly) posted on Facebook that if anyone was obliged to gift the class for me, I’d appreciate the hell out of it. Well... three of my good girlfriends, Lauren, Tanya and Shondriette (we call ourselves “The Wolfpack”) did not take it as a joke. In fact, that very same day, I get an email from MasterClass stating, “The Wolfpack sent you Shonda Rhimes’ MasterClass as a gift!” You can only imagine the jubilant screaming I did. It truly was one of the best and resourceful gifts I’ve ever received.


If there’s one thing Shonda Rhimes is a master of, it’s the television series she creates and develops (Grey’s Anatomy is used as the primary example for her class). She has admittedly said she is way too much of an introvert to be good at pitching, but at least she knows her TV shows like the back of her hand, which is invaluable in a pitch meeting. If you’re any type of writer, I highly recommend the class if you haven’t already engaged—I still use the workbook from that class as a guide for my own show bibles to this day.

So, imagine just how much more excited I am to share the promo trailer for the next MasterClass with instructor Issa Rae, titled “Creating Outside The Lines!” This instructor is especially fitting for me as my primary writing genre is comedy.

MasterClass: Issa Rae trailer / YouTube

Here’s the scoop from the official press release sent to The Root:

In her MasterClass, Rae will empower members to stop waiting for the right opportunity to land at their feet and instead share their stories by collaborating, using available resources and finding the right platforms. Breaking down scenes from her series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and Insecure, Rae will teach members how to develop a pilot, build multidimensional characters and dialogue, and work with and through feedback. She’ll also share practical advice and exercises to help members shape their creative process, establish good writing habits and get started on their writing journey. With engaging, candid storytelling, Rae shares anecdotes of personal failures and past disappointments to help inspire and push members to pursue turning their vision into a reality.

“Issa is one of the most celebrated creators in recent history because of her authenticity and unflinching boldness when it comes to storytelling,” David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass said in a statement. “Her MasterClass at its core is about inspiring action and not being discouraged by roadblocks. Our members will walk away feeling motivated and ready to act on the ideas and stories that have been brewing within them.”

“Feeling motivated” is right. I had the privilege of getting an advance-look at Rae’s class and it’s great. In her new role as an instructor, Rae is still completely herself, equipped with the authentic awkwardness we’ve come to love about her. In the class, she gives great tips on how to develop your story, how to effectively collaborate with other creators and more. Plus, she breaks down the pilot for Insecure, including the blueprint she personally uses, and provides insight into how she creates authentic and multidimensional characters. Of course, I took notes and have learned tactics that I’ll take with me on my own writing journey.

“A lot of people enter the industry thinking their ideas have to be perfect and fit into a specific kind of box, but that’s never been part of my process,” Rae, who was also recently named as a TV Academy Executive Committee appointee, added. “In my MasterClass, I want to tell you everything that I’ve gone through, every mistake that I’ve made and everything that I’ve learned so far, so that you can do better than I did. If you have a desire to create, this class is for you.”

Masterclass: Issa Rae is now available only on, where you can sign up for a subscription ($15 a month, billed annually) to access over 100 of its instructor-based classes.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.