Issa Rae, creator and star of HBO’s hit series, “Insecure” is a staunch supporter of South LA businesses. The show’s writers weave South LA neighborhoods like Leimert Park, Inglewood, View Park, Windsor Hills, and Crenshaw Boulevard businesses into the narrative. The location choices deepen the understanding of the show’s characters, and come with a positive and net impact on businesses. This boost has been appropriately dubbed “The Issa Effect.”
Businesses see a noticeable improvement in revenue after appearing as a location on the Emmy nominated series. Season three ended in September, and a few GLPVCC BID businesses mentioned in the show definitely experienced “The Issa Effect.”
Hot and Cool Cafe owner Anthony Jolly appeared in season three’s “Fresh-Like” episode. The Leimert Park cafe opened in April this year, but wasn’t getting much traffic until Jolly ran into Rae at his local Home Depot. He introduced himself and gave a suggestion. “I told her we needed some support,” says Jolly. “Her people acted quickly and added the cafe to the script. She did her homework too, we were supposed to be open a long time ago. And in the script, she even mentioned that.”
“It was such a good shout out,” he says. “We’re definitely a destination spot, and we’re getting a lot of support because of the show.”
Eso Won Books was also a beneficiary of “The Issa Effect.” Rae mentioned the iconic bookstore in a recent episode.
“It’s like my favorite place, ever” commented Rae’s “Insecure” alter ego Issa Dee; “They support a lot of up-and-coming black writers.”
Eso Won co-owner James Fugate said that there was an immediate reaction. “There was a marked increase in people coming in and sales.”
According to Fugate, the last time the book store experienced a similar economic surge was when award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates called Eso Won his favorite bookstore in the world.
“A woman on vacation from Belgium made a special stop into the store because of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ comment,” said Fugate. “That was a first.”