Whether it’s through her artistry on screen, an entrepreneurial endeavor or serving on a committee to advance diversity, actor and producer Issa Rae has made it her mission to uplift and empower communities that have been marginalized. The California native’s latest project is centered on amplifying the work of underrepresented creatives through a partnership with LIFEWTR.
Rae and the bottled water brand joined forces for the creation of a platform dubbed Life Unseen. The initiative was launched in an effort to address the lack of representation within the arts and cultivate spaces where diverse creatives can feel seen and heard. Life Unseen was designed to not only spread awareness about the inequities surrounding the accessibility to art but to also celebrate the contributions that creatives have made to inspire the next generation of artists.
There will be an array of projects rolled out under the Life Unseen umbrella including a research project led by the Institute for Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (QSIDE) that takes an in-depth look at inequalities in the arts and how they impact creators from underrepresented communities. There is also an artist collective that includes 20 creators across visual arts, fashion, film and music who are using their work as a vessel to bring diverse perspectives to the table. The visual artists will have their work featured on LIFEWTR’s bottles which are slated to hit shelves on May 17. The Life Unseen contest will give young artists a chance to submit their work for an opportunity to be mentored by Issa Rae, win $10,000 for their project and have their art highlighted by the LIFEWTR brand. There will also be a video that explores what happens when the work of diverse creatives is overlooked and unacknowledged.
Rae says her personal experiences prompted her to want to lead the collaborative effort with LIFEWTR. “As a creative and an avid consumer, I’ve witnessed firsthand how bias flows through fashion, film, music, visual arts and other creative territories,” she said in a statement. “LIFEWTR understands that creativity literally doesn’t exist without diversity of culture, perspective and interpretation. Together, we’re inviting everyone to help shine a light so the work of unseen artists can be seen.”
News about the LIFEWTR collaboration comes months after Rae was appointed to serve on the Television Academy’s Executive Committee to help address the lack of diversity across the entertainment industry.