Issa Rae On The Origin of ‘Condola’
Photograph by Merie W. Wallace

Soooo, Lawrence has a new girlfriend.

He was introduced to her at Tiffany’s baby shower (awkward), she’s a semi-recent divorcee and she and Issa have sort of become “friends,” even partnering to make the much-talked-about block party a reality. Oh, and she’s gorgeous (serving face, fashion and a sleek, fabulous upsweep at all times), confident and her name is…Condola (played to the tee by Christina Elmore).

While some viewers are aware of the origin of the character’s name (and to whom it gives a nod), others had questions and hit up Issa Rae for answers. So, of course the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated star and show creator hopped on IG and told the story as only she could.

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“I’ve got to share this because it’s been cracking me up that y’all refuse to put some respect on Condola’s name. And I saw someone ask me, like “Where did y’all even come up with that name. How did y’all come up with that name? Y’all just made it up?”

Rae continued on Instagram: “And actually, it came about because [writer/executive producer] Prentice [Penny] was sharing a story about how when he was younger and he was kind of dating with intention, it was all about how to find his Claire Huxtable, because, you know, he’s old as f*ck. So, it was just like, ‘Oh, I’m trying to find my Claire Huxtable, that’s what I’m looking for in a woman.’ And so, we started thinking about Lawrence as he starts to date with intention…and who would he be looking for?”

“So, I think the natural thought process was, Phylicia Rashad, someone his age…he’d would be looking for his ‘Condola Rashad,’” said the Insecure co-creator and star.

A-ha…a-ha!

So, here’s some insight on the “real” Condola:

1. She’s From A Good Family

Born on December 11, 1986, Condola Phylea Rashad is the daughter of Phylicia Rashad and Ahmad Rashad. Her mom (also known as “Claire Huxtable”) was pregnant during the height of The Cosby Show’s success and hid her pregnancy (hilariously and quite unsuccessfully) by standing and unpacking groceries, chilling on the couch with pillows across her lap and lying in bed, deep under the covers. Her dad is the legendary sports commentator and former pro football player.

Also, consider that Phylicia Rashad being your mom means that Debbie Allen is your auntie! Fierce.

2. She’s Young, Gifted and Black

Like her momma and auntie (and her classically-trained dancer cousin, Vivian Nixon, daughter of Aunt Debbie and named for their maternal family matriarch, Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet and artist, Vivian Ayers), the 33-year-old multi-hyphenate is gifted beyond measure. Along with her screen credits—think Billions, The Good Wife, Sex and the City 2—she’s made quite a name for herself on (and off) Broadway. To date, the four-time Tony Award nominee has taken the stage for Stick Fly, her debut, The Trip to Bountiful, Romeo and Juliet, A Doll’s House, Part 2, Ruined and Saint Joan.

3. She’s Remixed a Classic

In 2012, Rashad tugged, hard, on our heartstrings when she starred as Shelby in the small screen adaptation of the 1989 film, Steel Magnolias. With Tony Award-winning director, Kenny Leon, at the helm, the ensemble cast included Alfre Woodard, Jill Scott and Adepero Oduye, among them. Queen Latifah played her mom in the television movie, which also starred her real-life mom, Ms. Phylicia.

4. She’s Always Put Music First

Did we mention that Condola sings, too? Well, she does (and well!). “My first expression as an artist was music,” she told Vogue. “I trained as a classical pianist, starting at age four or five, and growing up I listened to more music than I watched films; even now, music is my heartbeat.” And yes, we’re amped to hear her forthcoming EP entitled, Space Daughter, which includes “Give Up the Gold.”

5. She’s a Philanthropic Artist

On April 3, the New York-based Rashad, released her single, “Blue” (and made her debut as video director and producer), and has pledged 100% of the proceeds to benefit the Food Bank for New York City. Her goal is to help those most in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I decided to link up with the Food Bank for New York City because I wanted to share my artwork at this time and also, use it as a vehicle to facilitate funds back into the community. I was looking for an organization that was going to be supporting those who would be hit first and hardest.”

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