Actress Issa Rae, creator of the HBO comedy series Insecure, raised eyebrows Monday night with a belt featuring the N-word as she walked the red carpet at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards.
Sporting a sparkling blue off the shoulder Pyer Moss jumpsuit, Rae’s black belt served as an eye-catching contrast. But more noticeable was the slogan emblazoned onto the belt. “Every nigga is a star,” it said in white script letters.
The slogan is reportedly a reference to a song by the Jamaican singer-songwriter Boris Gardiner, sampled by Kendrick Lamar for his 2015 song “Wesley’s Theory.”
The HBO star, who also served as the first black woman to host the award show, also took the occasion of the event to attack rap star and fashion designer Kanye West for being black “only when it is convenient.”
“I’m about as fashionable as Kanye is black — only when it’s convenient,” Rae said that night. She also insisted she purposefully chose the joke saying, “That joke was my choice, just like slavery. Come on. He has a No. 1 album. He’s all right.”
The joke was bold being that West’s wife, TV reality star Kim Kardashian, was sitting in the audience.
The actress also brought race into a joke at the fashion industry when she said Louis Vuitton menswear artistic director Virgil Abloh makes “clothes too expensive for everyone regardless of race. Now that is inclusion.”
Rae’s black-centric Peabody award-winning HBO comedy series begins its third season in August.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.