The first Black woman to host the CFDA Awards, Rae walked the event’s red carpet in a custom Pyer Moss royal blue one-shoulder jumpsuit with an overlay made up of over 180,000 Swarovski crystals. Since Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer behind the label, isn’t a stranger to using fashion as a form of protest — in 2014, Pyer Moss created the “They Have Names” shirt, honoring the memories of 11 Black men killed by police brutality; this past year, he created an updated version of the top, “Even More Names,” for Colin Kaepernick to wear in his GQ ‘Man of the Year’ spread — we can't say we were surprised to see her look featured a hidden message. Embroidered on Rae's belt was the phrase “Every N*gga Is A Star.”
The line comes from the Boris Gardiner’s “Every N*gger Is A Star,” the song Kendrick Lamar sampled for “Wesley’s Theory,” which a gospel choir performed during Jean-Raymond’s fall 2018 runway show. Jean-Raymond says the phrase spoke to both he and Rae. “It was a last minute idea that tied in the messages of our last show as well as Issa’s artistry,” he tells Refinery29 of the making of the belt. But what else would you expect from someone who is constantly making it known that she’s rooting for everybody Black?
In her intro for the evening, Rae also highlighted the way Black culture has influence fashion, saying “we’ve gone from having white designers study Black culture to make black clothes for white people that are too expensive for Black people to buy to [having] a Black man bringing Black culture to a historically white fashion house making clothes too expensive for everybody,” referring to Virgil Abloh, who was named menswear artistic director at Louis Vuitton in March.
And all we have to say is: There is nothing awkward about the way this Black girl is wielding her influence.