A&O announces co-sponsored event with Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji “to celebrate Black joy, Black art, Black women”


Merle W. Wallace/HBO/TNS

“Insecure” stars Yvonne Orji, left, and Issa Rae. The two will do a Q&A Friday evening over Zoom.

James Pollard, Campus Editor

According to a press release, A&O will host a virtual Q&A tonight at 7:15 p.m. CST with Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji, two black cast members from the hit HBO show “Insecure.” The co-sponsored event will be put on alongside NUWFA, ODB, FMO, Blackboard Magazine and ASA.

“In this time of civic unrest as a response to ongoing injustice towards Black Americans and institutional failure, A&O and our cosponsors are proud to host Black artists Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji, and hope to offer an hour of peace and joy with this virtual speaker event,” the release said.

The third and final installment of the A&O Speaker Series comes at the end of a week that has featured nationwide protests for racial justice, spurred by the death of George Floyd, the latest black person to be killed by police.

In the release, ODB said while publicizing the event could potentially feel “tone-deaf,” the group believes “uplifting the voices of Black artists is always important, especially now.”

“We’re going to use this event to celebrate Black joy, Black art, Black women, and to increase the visibility of resources and organizations that seek to create systemic change,” ODB said in the release. “These speakers show us Black friendship and Black love, and we hope that this event can provide some semblance of joy and community in a time when we need it most.”

In light of recent events, A&O said while they understand attending a virtual event is not a priority, they want to honor the commitment they made to these artists. It has been an incredibly stressful time for Black students in particular, A&O said in the release, and they hope the event might serve as an opportunity to celebrate Black artists and joy.

The group, which is providing the show for free, asked students to donate $5 to $10 — “the cost of what could have been a ticket” — to one of the following organizations: Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, Brooklyn Boi Hood or the Brave Space Alliance. Donations can be made directly or through sending the money to @ao-productions on Venmo.

Issa Rae made her film debut in the acclaimed drama, “The Hate U Give.” She received an Emmy nomination and two Golden Globe nominations for “Insecure,” a show she created and stars in.

The show follows the friendship of two black women, played by Rae and Yvonne Orji. A Nigerian-American actress, comedienne and writer, Orji made her feature film debut in Universal’s Night School, which featured Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish. The co-host of the podcast “Jesus & Jollof,” she is writing a faith-based advice book “Bamboozled by Jesus,” where she will interpret biblical stories for the current time.

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Twitter: @PamesJollard