Issa Rae has all the answers — well, kinda. As the newly announced voice of Google Assistant, the leading actress, and creator of Insecure, will be the person Google users hear doling out advice and compliments, responding to questions, and even singing a song on their personal phones and home devices if they choose to.
If you’re a fan of Rae’s wildly popular show on HBO you’ll see why the partnership between the tech giant and the beloved star is a perfect fit. Viewers often watch Rae’s character, Issa Dee, giving encouraging talks — mainly to herself in the mirror, spitting bars and trying to organize her love life, work life and relationships all at the same damn time. Now with the help of Rae’s voice, she can do that for you, too.
“Seriously, I’m a Black woman who gets to be the voice of Google Assistant. I just feel honored that they thought of me,” Rae tells ESSENCE of the collaboration. “It feels really cool to be able to be a helpful voice and represent a helpful voice for other people.”
In her own day to day, Rae, who says she would love it if the tech company tapped the singer Sade to give her voice commands on a daily basis, can be found using Google tools to keep her all the way together while on the go. “I’m a big reminder person and I’m constantly on the move so it’s just like a, ‘hey, remind me to read this script’ or ‘remind me to get back to so and so, or ‘remind me to respond to this text,’” the writer, actress, and producer extraordinaire says of her experiences with the application.
For Rae, the thought of needing help to maintain order in her life was not something she ever expected to happen. But it’s safe to say that the success of not one, but two HBO shows, a budding acting-directing-producing career and being a tech investor along with a host of other personal responsibilities, can change things for a woman. Last month it was announced that Rae had taken a minority stake in Streamlytics, a Black-woman founded analytics firm that tracks video and audio consumption. And that came just days after news broke that the native Californian was in early development for a Set It Off remake.
“I never thought that I would be one of those people that have multiple, multiple unread messages or emails on my phone,” the self-proclaimed “Googler” admits during our call, clearly affirming her need for the assistant tool. Rae’s been using a Google Home hub, in which the assistant can be accessed on, in her trailer since season two of Insecure. “It’s great for listening to music, shouting out reminders or really just setting the ambiance for me,” she explains. Elsewhere she relies on the phone version of the Google Assitant to filter music into every part of her life, noting that it helps her to feel “very proactive.”
But even if your life doesn’t involve managing several projects while living life in the limelight, there are other tasks you can put the Google Assistant to use for. Of those, Rae says she’s most excited to give people affirmations. “Knowing that I’ll be able to personally motivate people and encourage them through various quotes or a ‘mirror talk’, just to pump them up. That’s the fun part.” She also added, “Anytime I can bridge gaps, anytime I can encourage people to be their best selves or help people to be their best selves — that’s what I’m trying to do.”