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Why Issa Rae Is Afraid to ‘Publicly’ Fail Like Will Smith

With the third season of “Insecure” beginning on August 12, it’s safe to say the anticipation surrounding the first episode is pretty high.

Because not only has the show done wonderfully in the ratings department, it’s star and creator Issa Rae has become a darling of the Black community, and it seems at this point she can do no wrong.

But that doesn’t mean she isn’t afraid of her hit show failing, according to what she told a reporter at GQ.

In short, Rae has a philosophy that says before people can reach their ultimate peak of success, they have to go through some low points in their career first.

“This could be the worst season we’ve ever had,” she said. “And then what? Then people are all of a sudden like, ‘Oh, okay.’ Then the calls stop. It’s like stand-up comedy: In order to eventually succeed, you have to bomb.”

“That’s what every comedian says, that’s when the fear goes away,” added Issa. “And I feel like I’m still fearful because I haven’t publicly bombed yet, in terms of my career. Yeah, ‘Insecure’ is successful now, but where’s my bomb coming? Where are my Will Smith bombs coming? Where is that happening?”

Rae was referring to the big shift in Will’s career, when he went from being one of Hollywood’s biggest box office draws to having a string of his movies flop, including the sci-film “After Earth.”

The 2013 film, which also starred Will’s son Jaden, was panned by critics and it only grossed $60.5 million in the U.S, and it left the Philly native broken.

“That was the most painful failure in my career,” Will told Esquire in 2015. “‘Wild Wild West’ was less painful than ‘After Earth’ because my son was involved in ‘After Earth’ and I led him into it. That was excruciating. What I learned from that failure is how you win. I got reinvigorated after the failure of ‘After Earth.’ I stopped working for a year and a half. I had to dive into why it was so important for me to have No. 1 movies, and I never would have looked at myself in that way.”

After that big let down, Will said he realized that only having love for others and maintaining close relationships could fill his perpetual desire to be be No. 1.

And for Rae’s part, she insisted that failure is something that concerns her but it also seems to fuel her, since she never wants to experience it in large doses.

“I don’t want to make Instagram speeches about failing. I don’t,” she said.

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